Monday, August 1, 2016

It’s up to COMELEC en banc, 
To extend voters registration

TAGBILARAN CITY, July 30 (PIA)–-Over widespread clamor from students and youth who still could not make it to the deadline for the registration of voters in the upcoming Katipunan ng Kabataan (KK) for an extended registration, City election officer says, it’s all up to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc to grant such. 

Comelec Tagbilaran City registrar, Atty Ariel Selma said this at the Kapihan sa PIA, while urging young voters aged 15 to 30 on the day of the elections, register and exercise their constitutional right to vote. 

This to as the country’s young generations get ready to set up KK over the abolished Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), in a bid to engage the youth into resourceful participation in the political affairs of the country. 

Aside from the change of name, the reformed SK in the new KK, also expands its coverage with the usual SK age of 15-18 now opened from 15-30 years on the day of the election, Atty. Selma said. 

While the KK age is between 15 to 30, those who are qualified to run as officers are those 18 years old to 24 years old on the day of the elections, which happens on the last Saturday of October. This happens on October 31. 

While the COMELEC opened the registration of young voters form July 15 to July 30, the registration happens within 90 days before the regular elections for barangays. 

Section 8 of the Republic Act 8189 or the General Registration of Voters Act puts up the system of continuing registration of voters also says “no registration shall, however, be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election.

This has been so far the biggest claim the young registrants are using to force the COMELEC to decide for an extension of the registration. 

But, Atty Selma, using the Electoral Reforms Law cited RA 6646, specifically section 29. 

Section 29 says “if it should no longer be reasonably possible to observe the periods and dates prescribed by law for certain pre-election acts, the Commission shall fix other periods and dates in order to ensure accomplishment of the activities so voters shall not be deprived of their right of suffrage.”

So with time running out, and to lessen the registration hassle, the COMELEC in Tagbilaran earlier extracted the records of those who are 18 and above and have earlier registered and voted for the May 2016 elections before opening the registrations. 

This, Atty. Selma said, is to take out those who are 18 to 30 years old who can still vote for the KK and the Barangay elections on the same date.

But, last Saturday, close to a hundred registrants were seen in the vicinity of Tagbilaran City COMELEC, the scene also noticed in several more Comelec offices in town. 

With this, voters who could not make it still hope an extension is granted.

But COMELEC, through chairman Andres Bautista said any extension can greatly affect the preparations for the synchronized KK and Barangay Elections. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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