How to register to vote in the time of a pandemic

There’s still a little less than a year left to register for the 2022 Philippine presidential election. However, given the additional hurdles posed by COVID-19, it’s best to start early.

To save you from all the stress, we at Rappler Hustle bring you this quick and complete guide to voter registration during a pandemic.

Preparation ~1 week for scheduling

Most of the work happens even before you step outside. Accomplish all these steps to ensure a smooth visit to your local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office:

1. Ensure you meet these eligibility requirements

  • Filipino citizen
  • At least 18 years old on or before Election Day (May 9, 2022)
  • A resident of the Philippines for at least one year and a resident of the place in which you intend to vote for at least 6 months

2. Find your Comelec office and book an appointment

For many areas, this is your city hall. If you’re unsure, just run a quick search of “(your city) Comelec” and click on their official website or Facebook page. They will most likely have a booking system for appointments.

Make sure you check their specific office hours, as this varies across locations. Due to the high volume of requests and limited space, it’s best to book appointments at least a week in advance.

3. Print and fill out Comelec forms at home

You can find the official Comelec forms here.

Whereas most people need only fill out the CEF-1 and Coronavirus Self Declaration Form, there is also a supplementary data form for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and indigenous peoples.

We highly advise filling everything out before your visit, leaving just the signatures and thumbprints left to accomplish at the Comelec office. 

4. Photocopy your valid ID

You will need to submit a copy of at least one of the following valid IDs: 

  1. Employee's identification card (ID), with the signature of the employer or authorized representative
  2. Postal ID
  3. PWD Discount ID
  4. Student's ID or library card, signed by the school authority
  5. Senior Citizen's ID
  6. Driver's license
  7. NBI clearance
  8. Passport
  9. SSS/GSIS ID
  10. Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP) ID
  11. License issued by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC)
  12. Certificate of Confirmation issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in case of members of ICCs or IPs
  13. Any other valid ID

You’ve conquered half the battle, and now you’re ready for your registration appointment! Make sure to bring the following to your Comelec office:

  • Accomplished forms
  • Valid ID and photocopy of ID
  • Own ballpen
  • Face mask and face shield
  • Alcohol or hand sanitizer
  • Water (to stay hydrated)
Registration ~2 hours

Some procedures may vary between municipalities, but here’s what to expect for your Comelec visit:

1. Contact tracing

Visitors tend to be limited, so you'll likely be placed in an additional queue outside to fill out contact tracing forms.

Since you already filled out your application, this could be the longest part of the process.

2. Application review and signature

An electoral officer will review your application, indicate any errors, and have you sign in front of him or her.

3. Logging application into the system

Your application will be digitized and entered into the Election Registration Board’s (ERB) system.

4. Biometrics capturing

Have your photo taken and leave your digital signature and fingerprints. 

5. Stub collection

And this is your takeaway from the whole process. Comelec personnel will detach, date, and stamp your acknowledgment receipt. 

Screenshot from the official CEF-1 form

Make sure to hold on to your receipt and keep it in a safe place. This is to acknowledge that you have applied for voter registration, but it hasn't necessarily been approved.

Approval can take months, and you may be asked to come back with the receipt.

For now, you can relax and research on how to make the most out of your vote. More voter information can be found on the We the Youth Vote, which will be conducting webinars and information sessions leading all the way up to the 2022 election.

Voter registration ends on September 30, 2021. – Rappler.com