Comelec invites walk-in voter applicants as online system is clogged

Voter registration applicants who cannot get a schedule for biometrics capture through the online system iRehistro may have better chances of getting entertained as walk-in applicants, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

In an online interview on Tuesday, April 13, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez admitted that a backlog for appointments of biometrics capture in the online system is making it difficult for voter registration applicants to book a schedule before their local Comelec offices.

Towards the end of the registration before the lockdown, ang nakikita natin, mas maraming tao, they favored walking in (Before the lockdown, we noticed that more people favored walk-in registration than setting an appointment online),” Jimenez said in an interview with election lawyer Gregorio Larrazabal.

Voter registration has been suspended in Metro Manila and 4 nearby provinces since March 29, when the government placed these areas under a strict lockdown. While this lockdown in this areas has slightly eased, voter registration has not resumed.

Voter registration continues in most provinces of the Philippines which are under less stringent quarantine rules.

Jimenez added that a number of people who “fake-register” while not showing up on the actual day of their biometrics capture are adding further burden to the clogged online system.

“Setting up an appointment on iRehistro is a very good idea. Unfortunately, there are no more slots available due to the influx of voter applicants.... The other explanation for that is there are some unscrupulous assholes who actually fake-register,” Jimenez said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“In walk-in [applications], you’re either there or you’re not there. Itong mga nag-iRehistro, mag-a-appointment sila nang marami, tapos walang darating, ano ang gagawin ng election officer? (Some people overbook at iRehistro, then they won't show up, so what will the election officer do?)” he said.

In March, Jimenez already acknowledged that there is a biometrics backlog in Manila, and the “best bet” for a voter registration applicant is to attempt getting a biometrics schedule through walk-in.

“Best bet: if you can’t get an appointment is to simply arrive as a walk-in; you will be entertained even without an appointment,” Jimenez tweeted on March 22.

Walk-in registrations are on a “first come, first served basis.” Aside from trying to book a schedule for biometrics capture through the iRehistro website, voter applicants may also call their local Comelec office to set up an appointment.

Aside from trying to book a schedule for biometrics capture through the iRehistro website, voter applicants may also call their local Comelec office to set up an appointment.

Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez showed a presentation on how to register for the 2022 national elections.

Screenshot from GOYO's Facebook page

Comelec has reminded that accomplishing the application form through iRehistro does not automatically make one a registered voter.

“You still have to personally appear before your local Comelec office (or the concerned Philippine embassy or consulate) together with the printed online application forms (3 copies) for QR scanning and biometrics capture to complete the filing process,” Comelec said on its website.

Jimenez said Monday that 2.6 million first-time voters have already registered for the 2022 elections.

Comelec is hopeful to reach its target of 4 million first-time voters before registration ends on September 30, 2021. –