To encourage more Filipinos to register — and vote — for the coming national elections, the Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec) joined forces with Impact Hub Manila (IHM) to create the Voter Registration Service Test site within its Vote Pilipinas website.
Data from the Comelec show that in 2019, only 75.9% of registered voters turned up to cast their votes, or about 1 in every 4 registered voters did not participate in voting. In 2022, the Comelec said more young people will be eligible to vote. Through Vote Pilipinas, IHM aims to encourage 7 million more Filipinos to register.
The Voter Registration Test will assist voters in their registration to the Comelec. Basically, it will provide information that any type of voters would need upon registration.
Comelec already has the iRehistro website which is a preliminary step to the in-person registration at the voter’s assigned Comelec office. The new site developed by Impact Hub is designed to educate and prepare registrants for their actual registration.
Ces Rondario, co-founder of Impact Hub Manila, reiterated that the Voter Registration Test website is not the actual Comelec registration because registrants are still required to show up in Comelec offices to verify their identity.
Impact Hub Manila is part of a global network Impact Hub, a shared workspace, event platform and local and global community network for individuals. Vote Pilipinas is the official Voter Registration Information campaign partner of Comelec.
What are the pain points that this tool hopes to address?
For one, there are different types of registrants — new, deactivated, and those who want to transfer precincts. Each of these types of voters have specific requirements. The Voter Registration Test is designed to provide information, such as the nearest Office of the Election Officer office to contact, a list of identification cards to bring, forms to download and bring to the Comelec office, and (4) pertinent documents.
This will not only streamline the process in the on-site registration but will also significantly reduce the time spent and interaction with Comelec officers, which is important in the new normal to curb the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
The site is in English but Rondario said they are trying to work on making other languages available before the deadline of registration which is on Sept. 30, 2021. This is all web-based.
Started in August, the campaign aims to increase the number of voter registration and election turnout in time for the next national elections.
“One of the campaign’s goals is to provide every Filipino with access to the right information so they can register and ultimately vote. We hope that through the Vote Pilipinas campaign, we can shift mindsets and make people realize that every vote counts,” Rondario said.
On Dec. 4, 2020, Comelec and Impact Hub Manila signed the Memorandum of Understanding to cement the partnership and jointly push for registrations.
Voter registration is open from Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. To register, fill out the online form at iRehistro, print it, and bring it to the nearest Comelec office. Strict reminder, though, to not sign the form because registrants need to affix their signature in the presence of a Comelec official.