COMELEC-Bicol: 5% of registered voters failed to validate biometrics

LEGAZPI CITY—The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is set to drop from its official list around 5 percent of the total number of registered voters in the region, which is 3,298,061.

LAST MINUTE. Voters and prospective voters try to beat the COMELEC registration deadline last October 31 form a long queue outside the poll body office in Naga City (Photo : OSCAR ESMENDA/BICOL STANDARD).
This is after said 164,803 voters failed to have their biometrics registered or validated at the poll body's offices by the October 31 deadline, Comelec Bicol regional executive director Atty. Romeo Fortes said.

He added that apart from establishing a clean and complete list of voters, the registration also aimed to reduce, if not eliminate voter fraud.

Some of the registered voters to be dropped from the list are already dead, Fortes said, while others have transferred residences or are no longer interested in participating in the polls.

The registration, he said, would help eradicate the problem of ghost voters and double registrants.
Fortes admitted, however, that he lamented how a considerable number of Bicolanos were unable to register, despite Comelec's repeated reminders over the past few months.

He noted that last week, Comelec offices across the region were filled with voters or prospective voters who were trying to beat the deadline. Their procrastination, however, got the better of them, leaving them disenfranchised in the upcoming polls.

The deadline was established by Republic Act No. 10367, which states that voters who would fail to submit themselves for validation from May 6, 2014 to October 31, 2015 would be deactivated and will not be allowed to vote in the upcoming May 2016 elections.

The national office repeatedly emphasized that there would be no extension of said deadline, despite calls from various groups.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM