Every little bit counts

By Monday, the 7th of November, the Commission on Elections will be re-starting voter registration, and that’s a good thing. But it will be re-starting voter registration just as the Christmas season is about to start, and that’s not the best thing.

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People will be distracted by the Yuletide and the chances of voter registration standing out as a priority are slim. So, people need to be reminded … constantly. The COMELEC will be putting out reminders, of course, but this calls for a full-court press. Every bit of help the COMELEC can get, in making people aware of voter registration, will count.

So, if you’re up to it, and if you truly believe all those social media posts of yours about the value of the vote (wink-wink), here’s a Voter Educator starter kit:

TOP 5 VOTER REGISTRATION TIPS

YOU CAN SHARE:

1. Only file an application as a New Voter if you’ve never registered as a voter before.

If you have registered before, then you can only apply for Reactivation (in case you’ve missed two consecutive national elections and have been Deactivated as a result), a Transfer of Registration (in case you’ve changed residences), or a Transfer with Reactivation (in case you’ve changed residences  and have been Deactivated).

2. Always bring a valid identification card that reflects your current address.

A person’s eligibility to vote is linked to his residence. If he is a resident of a particular place, then he is eligible to vote there. If he is not a resident, then he can’t be considered eligible. That’s why the current address on your valid ID is so important. It identifies you as a resident of the place where you are trying to register and, in effect, gives you eligibility.

3. If you’re trying to register a name change, bring proof, such as a marriage certificate.

The most important thing here is that the applicant should be able to produce some sort of documentary evidence that will prove the necessity of changing his or her name on record. This could, as in the example, be a marriage certificate, an annulment certificate (I’m assuming there is such a thing), et cetera.

Essentially the same rule will apply if you’re trying to get a person removed from the list because he or she is dead. It is not enough that you say so-and-so is dead; you’re going to have to prove it. Showing a death certificate works best.

4. Deactivated voters can get their names back on the active voters list by filing an application for Reactivation.

You already know that a voter who has missed two consecutive national elections will be deactivated. Youalso know that this can be very easily fixed by simply filing an application for Reactivation. What you probably didn’t know is that you don’t have to explain why you missed two consecutive elections. It’s stupid not to vote, but it isn’t a crime.

5. Tell people that their biometrics will be taken.

And just in case you’ve forgotten, “biometrics” refers to a person’s fingerprints, a picture of his face, and his digitally captured signature. These things are necessary to ensure that no voter is registered more than once.

biometricsOn a final note.

HOW TO USE THIS KIT

  1. The easiest way is to just copy this info down and share it with someone. The COMELEC’s Education and Information Department is working on a downloadable fact sheet and when that’s ready, I’ll put up a link here. That will be even easier to share.
  2. You can also share this blog post on your social media. The sharing icons are at the bottom of this post. You can share it on Facebook and Twitter. Share it with your relatives, your friends, your student councils, your Titos and Titas – share it with everyone. And encourage them to pass it on too.
  3. After sharing this information, encourage the person you shared it with, to connect with the COMELEC through social media. On Facebook, go to http://facebook.com/comelec.ph; on Twitter, follow @COMELEC. Those two channels are the easiest and quickest ways to get information and answers about the registration process.

Remember, every little bit helps. If you can reach out to one person, then that’s one more person who is no longer ignorant about his right to be a registered voter, and about what he needs to do to protect that right.

GO!

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