#Tanong

james-himenezTHERE are only 64 days left in the voter registration and validation period, preparatory to the 2016 national, local, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao elections. In view of the looming deadline, here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs)—and the answers to
them—on the subject:

Where can I register? You can
register at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in the city or municipality where you reside and intend to vote. As an alternative, you can register at a satellite registration that serves your specific district, within the city or municipality where you live.

What are the requirements for voter registration? You need a valid ID with your picture and your current address. Your ID doesn’t have to be a government-issued ID. You can use a driver’s license, a company ID, or a school ID that is valid for the current school year. If you don’t have a valid ID, a registered voter from the same barangay can vouch for your identity.

I’ve changed my name. What should I do? You need to file an application for change of name, and present a valid ID showing your new name and current address. You also need to show proof of your legal name change. For example, a marriage certificate.

I’ve changed addresses. Should I register as a new voter? No, you shouldn’t. Any registered voter who has transferred residence to another city or municipality (or to another barangay within the same city or municipality), at least six months before the next election may simply file an application for a transfer of registration.

To do that, visit the Comelec office in the city or municipality where you live, present an ID that reflects your new address and fill out the appropriate application form.

The Comelec got my name wrong! What should I do? If your registration record contains erroneous entries, including wrong or misspelled name, birth date, birth place or typographical errors, you can file an application for correction of entries at the Comelec office in your city or municipality. All you have to do is present evidence that justifies the correction. For example, if your name is misspelled, you can present a birth certificate to prove the correct spelling of your name.

What does being deactivated mean? Being “deactivated” means your registration record has been temporarily suspended and you cannot vote until the record is reactivated. This happens when you’ve missed two consecutive national elections.

For example: You didn’t vote in the 2013 national and local elections and in the 2013 barangay elections, you’re deactivated for 2016, because you missed two consecutive national elections.

On the other hand, if you voted in the 2010 barangay elections, did not vote in the 2013 national elections, but voted again in the 2013 barangay elections, you’re NOT deactivated because you didn’t miss two consecutive national election.

In order to reactivate, simply visit the Comelec office in your city or municipality and fill out the application for reactivation form.

I’m a regular voter with no biometrics. Can I be delisted? Republic Act 10367 states that those voters who fail to submit for validation by the end of the current registration period will be deactivated. Although this is not the same as removal from the list of voters, this will still mean that in relation to the next elections, the voter with a deactivated registration record will not be allowed to vote.

Wait. What are biometrics? 
Biometrics are a way of verifying your identity using your picture, your signature and your fingerprints.

Needless to say, this list isn’t exhaustive. And that’s where the Comelec’s newly opened, multichannel, hot lines come into the picture. You can ask questions via landline at the following telephone numbers: 

(02)527-5574; (02)525-9296; (02)525-0821. You can send your queries in via SMS or text message, at 0918-5668301 and 0917-3708158. And if you’re a digital native—or just really attached to the Internet—you can use tweet @COMELEC or leave a comment on the Comelec’s official Facebook page. Space permitting, it would be helpful if query tweets could be hash tagged #Tanong.

You can also send an e-mail to comelectv@gmail.com, or post a comment on the Comelec Education and Information Department’s web site, http://www.electionsphl.com/learn/ask-questions/. Questions asked over these hot lines will eventually find their way into the Comelec’s FAQs.

For now, the hot lines are officially open only from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Operationally, this means that queries received on weekends, or after 5 p.m., will be attended to on the next working day. As the elections draw nearer, however, hot -line operations will also ramp up.

James Arthur B. Jimenez is director of the Commission on Elections’s education and information department.

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