Because people don’t always have time to visit COMELEC (Commission on Elections) offices to register to vote for the next elections but somehow always find time to go to the mall, it’s a brilliant idea that they decided to bring registrations to the malls! I’ve had the chance to register through one of these satellite registrations yesterday and here’s my story.
For those who have regular work, our weekdays are pretty much taken and government offices are usually closed on weekends so it’s pretty reasonable why some people are not able to register or update their information to be eligible to vote on the next elections. It is quite fortunate that someone from the government thought of bringing the process to the malls, even on weekends, to make it much more accessible.
And because our district was being served in one of their scheduled mall satellite registration yesterday, July 17, 2015, and I had no work due to a holiday, I decided to give it a try. I’d definitely pick the convenience of a mall anytime over going to city hall or any other government office to register.
A mall-wide sale was coincidentally going on during the registration so traffic was as bad as it can get. I was prepared to see long queues as I go to the venue due to the volume of shoppers, but was totally surprised that there were no queues! I actually had to ask if there was a queue that I may be missing (I don’t want to be one to start breaking the lines) but was pointed to go directly to one of the tellers. I was asked for a valid ID and my area of residence and was given a form to sign. Make that three (3) forms.
After signing the same form three times (triplicate copies), I went to another table for my form to be logged and given a registration number. I was asked which voting precinct was closest to me and it was written on the form. From there I went to another table for some of my information to be encoded and my photo and biometrics taken. I just had to wait a bit while we wait for the terminal to get online (apparently their connection had some technical glitches). Afterwards, I was off to the last step where my thumbmarks were placed on the form. (They have alcohol and towel to remove the ink, but you may want to bring your own tissues if you are concerned with your own sanitation.) The form was then taken and I was handed a small stub from the form indicating my precinct number. And that’s it! The entire process must’ve taken just around 30 minutes, the majority of which was spend with writing on the pages of forms. I admit, I’m impressed! 😀
I wrote this post to encourage everyone to update their registration information and have their biometrics taken (if it had not been taken yet). We’ve all (hopefully) heard COMELEC’s campaign, “No Bio, No Boto” (No biometrics, No vote), so if you want to be eligible to vote for the forthcoming elections, you better have your biometrics registered with the agency. Now that they are the ones going to the malls, even during weekends, there’s just no excuse on why you won’t be able to register to vote.
The list of mall satellite registration sites can be found here. (October 2015 update: use this more updated listing by Rappler instead).
But before you head out to the malls, don’t forget to bring a valid ID and a pen, together with some tissue and alcohol as well to wipe off the ink from the thumbmarking. Also, make sure to check which district is being served by the mall satellite registration. And at least try to look presentable as they’d be taking your picture. 🙂
For more information, visit www.comelec.gov.ph.