MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) downplayed the errors in its online voter records, called the Precinct Finder, as voter registration is set to end on Saturday, October 31.
Quoting the Comelec’s information technology department, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said, “They’re pretty much standing by the results of the Precinct Finder.”
“We're waiting for the final report on that, but, again, that's why we have contact numbers there at the bottom of the precinct results page, so that when the voters' own personal knowledge conflicts with what the Precinct Finder says, they're able to call and verify,” he added.
If the Precinct Finder gives conflicting results, voters can email the details of their registration records to IThelpdesk@comelec.gov.ph.
Jimenez also said voters can tweet Comelec (@Comelec) or himself (@jabjimenez) to ask about the registration records.
The Comelec spokesman made these statements after a Rappler story pointed out errors in the Precinct Finder, based on voters’ personal experiences. (READ: Warning: These Comelec errors can cost your vote)
Comelec not extending registration
Rappler senior researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr, for instance, has voted in all Philippine elections – national, local, and barangay – since he registered as a voter in November 2006.
The Comelec Precinct Finder, however, showed that his voter registration is deactivated.
The Comelec deactivates the registration of a voter only if, among other things, he or she failed to vote “in the two successive preceding regular elections.”
Jimenez explained that the Comelec has encountered cases where voters said they remember to have voted, but voter registration records show they didn’t.
Still, in Santos’ case, the local Comelec office checked his records and saw that he actually voted in the last elections. The local Comelec office corrected Santos’ registration records, and said his registration remains active unlike what the Precinct Finder showed.
When asked about the cases stated by Rappler, Jimenez assured the public: “We’re handling each of these problems as they arise.”
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.