by Venus Zoleta, on category "Government Services"
September 13, 2019
Have you registered as a voter yet? Too often, we overlook the voter’s registration because we’re too busy to make time for it. But it’s actually a simple process that takes only an hour or two—just avoid doing it on the last day of registration when local Commission on Elections (COMELEC) offices get jampacked with last-minute applicants.
Here’s a quick guide to walk you through voter’s registration in 2019 and onwards.
Voter registration is the process in which a qualified voter files a sworn application before the election officer of the city or municipality where the applicant lives. Upon approval by the Election Registration Board, the applicant’s record is included in the book of voters.
It’s a requirement for any Filipino who wishes to join in choosing the next public officials in the Philippine elections, as well as those who plan to run for public office.
You’re qualified to register as a voter in the Philippines if you meet all these eligibility requirements:
The COMELEC requires Filipinos to personally file their application for voter’s registration at the Office of the Election Officer or local COMELEC office in the city or municipality where they currently live. Typically, the office is located within or near your city or municipal hall.
If you don’t know where your local COMELEC office is, you may find it using the directory on the COMELEC website (Note: The link directs to the NCR Offices directory. To check the offices outside Metro Manila, click the appropriate link on the right sidebar i.e., Regional Offices, Provincial Offices, or City/Municipal Offices).
Voter’s registration is not held all year round—it’s available only several months before an election. So be aware of the registration dates to avoid missing the deadline.
Local COMELEC offices and satellite registration offices accept voter’s registration applications on Mondays to Saturdays (including holidays) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., based on these schedules:
For the 2020 Barangay and SK Elections: August 1, 2019 to September 30, 2019
For the 2022 National and Local Elections: July 6, 2020 to September 30, 2021, except for December 25, 2020 (Christmas Day), April 1, 2021 (Maundy Thursday), and April 2, 2021 (Good Friday)
At the COMELEC office, find the queue for submitting the requirements for voter’s registration.
The COMELEC accepts any of the following IDs for registration:
The election officer will check your ID to verify your identity, place of residence, and voter’s registration status on the government agency’s database.
Tip: Present only a valid ID that shows your current address. If the address on your ID is in a different location than the city or municipality where you’re applying, the officer will ask for another ID that indicates your updated address. If you don’t have one, your application will be denied.
An additional supporting document is required for certain cases:
Once your verification is successful, the election officer will give you three copies of the voter’s registration application form that you need to accomplish.
To save time, you may download and print three copies of the voter’s registration application form on long bond paper (ideally substance 20/70 gsm). Fill them out in advance, but put your signature and thumb marks only in front of the election officer during your voter’s registration.
Tip: Bring your taxpayer identification number or TIN card, as the form asks for your TIN.
Submit your accomplished voter’s registration application form to the designated officer, who will check it for completeness of the information.
If your application form is good to go, you’ll be asked to proceed to the biometrics capture area.
Line up at the first queue to have your photo taken. Just look straight at the webcam until the flash appears. You may ask the operator to show you your picture, so you can check if it’s captured correctly.
Next, go to the fingerprints capture. On the fingerprint scanner, place your right and left thumbs and index fingers one at a time. The operator will guide you on how to do it properly.
Lastly, go to the queue for the signature capture. Simply sign on the signature pad, similar to how you sign on paper. Check the computer monitor to see if you’ve signed correctly. You may repeat this step if your signature was not captured right the first time.
When you’re done with your biometrics capture, you’ll be requested to write down your name and sign on a logbook. You’ll then be issued an acknowledgment receipt.
Don’t expect the voter’s ID to be issued, as had been the practice in the past. The COMELEC has stopped issuing this ID to give way to the national ID system.
At this point, you are not a registered voter yet. Your application will undergo approval by the Election Registration Board (ERB) during its scheduled quarterly hearing. After the ERB hearing, your information will be recorded in the book of voters of your district, city, or municipality. Only then can you be considered a registered voter.
Voter’s registration is permanent and done only once. If you’re already a registered voter, you don’t have to register again each time there’s an upcoming election.
However, you need to apply for reactivation of your registration record if you failed to vote in two consecutive regular elections (which puts you in a deactivated voter’s registration status).
When you move to a different location, you should apply for transfer of voter’s registration record at the local COMELEC office in your new place of residence. In doing so, you won’t have to travel far to get to your former city or town every election period.
Likewise, those who got married after registering as a single person (including women who want to use their husband’s surname) and others who have changed their civil status are required to apply for a correction of their registration record.