FAQs: What you need to know about voter registration during pandemic

Have you already registered to vote in the 2022 Philippine elections?

With the pandemic forcing people to stay at home, many Filipinos may still be confused about what has changed in our voter registration process given the country’s current health crisis. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing to pull in at least 4 million new registered voters by the end of the registration period on September 30, 2021.

With less than a year left until the deadline, the agency said more than two million people were already registered as new voters as of February 2021. More people can still be pulled in to register to vote.

Rappler has created a handy guide on how to register to vote during the pandemic. We’ve also gathered answers to some frequently asked questions about voter registration.

Who is eligible to register?

People may register if they meet the following 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
If I registered in the 2019 elections, should I register again?

No. Registration needs to be done only once.

Can I register online?

Eligible Filipinos cannot register online. They will still have to go to their local Comelec offices or the Offices of the Election Officer to submit forms, get their photo taken, and leave their fingerprints and digital signature.

Although registration cannot be done virtually, Comelec has set up iRehistro, where you can accomplish your forms online. This, however, does not mean you are registered already. Comelec explained that after completing iRehistro, eligible voters can then go to the local Comelec office or the Office of the Election Officer to personally submit their application form.

To ensure people’s safety, Comelec also shared the needed documents for registration on its website, which people can print at home and bring with them for submission. People may also accomplish the forms in their local Comelec offices or the Offices of the Election Officer.

Where should we register?

Eligible Filipinos should go to their local Comelec offices or the Offices of the Election Officer. These can be found in every district, city, or municipality. According to Comelec, these offices are usually located at or near the city or municipal hall.

In light of the pandemic, registration of voters in satellite sites is suspended until further notice. Satellite registration may only be conducted in cities and municipalities with no COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days before the actual conduct of the satellite registration, according to Comelec.

If you do not know where your local Comelec office is located, you can check out Comelec’s directory for Metro Manila offices, regional offices, provincial offices, and city and municipal offices.

These offices may 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.

What are the requirements needed? Do we need to bring a negative COVID-19 test result?

Eligible Filipinos will only need to bring a valid ID and a photocopy of it. They may also bring their accomplished Comelec forms if they’ve already prepared these.

A negative COVID-19 test result is not required. Those interested in registering, however, will have to fill out a Coronavirus Self Declaration Form. Registrants who answered yes to the questions in the said form will be advised to return after 14 days to submit their forms for voter registration.

Health protocols will also be strictly enforced during registration.

Which IDs can we use for voter registration?

Registrants can bring any of the following IDs as per Comelec:

  • Employee's identification card (ID), with the signature of the employer or authorized representative
  • Postal ID
  • Person with disability discount ID;
  • Student's ID or library card, signed by the school authority
  • Senior Citizen's ID
  • Driver's license
  • NBI clearance
  • Passport
  • SSS/GSIS ID
  • Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP) ID
  • License issued by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC)
  • Certificate of Confirmation issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in case of members of ICCs or IPs
  • Any other valid ID

Community tax certificates (cedula) and Philippine National Police clearances will not be honored as valid ID for the registration. 

For those who do not have any of the mentioned IDs above, eligible Filipinos may be identified under oath by any registered voter of the precinct where they intend to be registered, or by any of their relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. No registered voter or relative shall be allowed to identify more than 3 applicants, according to Comelec.

I'm 17 now but will be 18 on or before Election Day, can I still register to vote?

Minors can already register as long as they will turn 18 on or before the Election Day (May 9, 2022).

How will the registrant get their voter ID? Can we vote without it or do we need to present it on Election Day?

For now, the generation and distribution of voter ID cards is currently on hold as a result of the House of Representatives’ approval of a bill seeking to establish a national identification system, which proposes using only one ID for all government transactions.

However, upon finishing the voter’s registration, the election officer will issue an acknowledgement receipt that is attached at the end of the CEF-1 Form as proof of registration. The receipt contains the voter’s ID number.

The receipt should be presented during the elections. This will be helpful in knowing the voter’s precinct.

What is the schedule for voter registration?

From March 22 to April 4, all Offices of the Election Officer nationwide will accept applications for voter registration from Mondays to Thursdays, 8 am to 3 pm. The issuance of voter’s certification, however, will be until 5 pm. The shortened voter registration hours were done in light of the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Previously, all Offices of the Election Officer nationwide were open from 8 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Saturday.

Until when is the registration?

The registration will end on September 30, 2021

Is Comelec open for info updating (e.g change of address or civil status, typographical errors in record)

People may head to their local Comelec office to request correction or updating of entries such as misspelled or wrong names, birth date, birth place, and civil status, among others.

I already registered in my hometown, but I no longer live there. Should I register again in my present place of residence?

During the registration period, the application for the transfer of the concerned registration record can be filed with the local Comelec office of the new place of residence.

Still got queries on voter’s registration? Other registration FAQs are answered here. You can visit the official COMELEC website for more information about the registration process. You may also email move.ph@rappler.com if you want to suggest more frequently asked questions to be included in the page. – with reports from Angel Turiano/Rappler.com

MovePH, the civic engagement arm of Rappler, aims to start the conversation on what kind of leaders we need and what issues should be addressed as we approach the 2022 Philippine elections. Join the conversation here.