Only 1st-time voters accepted during 5-day extension of registration

ONLY new registrants will be accepted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the five-day extension of registration it approved.
Resolution 8719, promulgated last Thursday, Dec. 17, set seven guidelines for the reopening of registration of voters.
The new rules were passed following the Dec. 15 Supreme Court (SC) decision that declared as null and void Comelec Resolution 8585 that set the registration deadline on Oct. 31, 2009.

The SC ordered that the registration be made until Jan. 9, 2010.
But Comelec chairman Jose Melo and six commissioners set the registration on Dec. 21, 22, 23, 28 and 29 only since the registration period includes the Election Registration Board (ERB) hearing and other related activities.

It is the ERB that evaluates and approves registration applications.
According to Resolution 8719, the last day to post the notice of hearing is on Jan. 4; last day to file opposition to the applications of registration, Jan. 6; and the ERB hearing, Jan. 9.
Tessie Mercado of the Cebu City south district Comelec office said that because of the SC decision and Resolution 8719, they postponed their Christmas party scheduled on Dec. 21.
Though the registration is only during office hours or from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., they have to prepare and no longer have time for the Christmas party.

She advised new or first-time registrants that though registration ends at 5 p.m., they impose a 4 p.m. cut-off so that those who register after would be told to return the next day.
“People might register on the last day again. They have to know that there are no satellite or offsite registrations,” she said.

Under the set of guidelines, only new registrants will be entertained, and only at the Comelec offices.

“No satellite registration shall be conducted and no application for transfer of registration records, reactivation and changes/correction of entries in the registration records/inclusion of registration records/reinstatement of names in the list of votes, shall be filed,” read the three-page Resolution 8719.

It also ordered that add-on utilities are allowed in areas where the data capturing machines (DCMs) or their related gadgets are defective or malfunctioning.
It likewise directed the Comelec’s Information Technology Department to develop a program segregating the records of registered voters as of Nov. 16 and that those whose applications are approved on the Jan. 9 ERB hearing should be provided in a supplemental list of voters.
All Comelec regional directors were also told to ensure that the programs to segregate the records are installed in the DCMs prior to the reopening of registration.
(Sunstar)

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