Who lacks biometrics? Richer voters, survey says

MANILA, Philippines – The richer the voter, the less likely it is that he has had his biometrics validated for the Philippines’ presidential elections in 2016.

From socio-economic classes A, B, and C, around 71% of voters have had their biometrics validated, according to a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

In contrast, in class D, around 76% of voters have complete biometrics.

In class E, around 81% have had these data taken.

Nationwide, on average, around 76% of voters have registered with the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and have been validated to vote.

The SWS released these survey results on Monday, September 14.

It conducted the survey from June 5 to 8, with 1,200 adult respondents. It has a margin of error of 3% for national percentages, and 6% each for Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The survey comes as the Comelec intensifies its “No Bio, No Boto” (No Biometrics, No Vote) campaign to encourage voters to have their biometrics data validated.

Republic Act 10367 requires voters to have their biometrics taken, or else the government will have their registration deactivated. In other words, without submitting their biometrics data, the Comelec will not allow them to vote. 

By capturing biometrics, the Comelec means taking the photographs, fingerprints, and signatures of voters, among other things, and storing these digitally. 

The Comelec expects these data, which it stores in voter registration machines, to help cleanse voters' lists. (READ: Comelec purges 1.3M Filipinos from voters’ list)

Comelec: 3.1M lacking biometrics

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista on Wednesday, September 15, said the number of voters lacking biometrics data is down to 3.1 million. 

This was from a high of 4.3 million without biometrics data and 550,000 with incomplete biometrics as of April 20.

The SWS survey, which was not commissioned, paints a clearer picture of voters lacking biometrics.

The pollster said among voters in the following areas – the National Capital Region (NCR), the rest of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao – the NCR has the lowest percentage of voters with complete biometrics.

In the NCR, 62% of voters have complete biometrics as of June 15, the SWS said. (READ: Voters without biometrics mostly from NCR, Regions III, IV-A)

In the rest of Luzon, 76% do; in the Visayas, 78%; in Mindanao, 84%.

The SWS also said rural areas have a higher percentage of registered voters with biometrics data – 82%. 

In urban areas, only 71% of registered voters have complete biometrics. 

Among age groups, the 35-44 age range has a higher percentage of voters with biometrics. In this age range, 82% of voters have completed these data, the SWS said.

The pollster said the 18-24 age range, on the other hand, has the lowest percentage of voters with biometrics. In this age range, only 59% of voters have had these data taken. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.