Rey Anthony Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, April 25, 2014 (PIA) –Almost a hundred thousand Boholano voters could be denied the exercise their civil rights for failure to revalidate their registration by giving in to a biometrics profiling.
Bohol election officer and lawyer Eliso Labaria issued this alarm as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to re-open its continuing registration for new voters and revalidation or reactivation of old voters starting May 6, 2014 to October 31, 2015.
He then urged Boholanos to take the chance to check on their voters status and update when needed, fearing that the usual last minute crowd could result in disappointments.
In previous registrations, huge crowds surfacing on the last day churned out ugly criticisms to the Comelec, when the opening days of registration saw very sparse crowds.
A biometrics machine can only take as much as 150 voters per day, he said.
The registration is set slowly fix the Comelec list of the country’s voters who will take the voting queue in 2016, Comelec said.
At the Kapihan sa PIA held to drumbeat the continuing registration which opens on a slightly different weekly schedule, Bohol election supervisor shared that as per their records, also needing to troop to their local Comelec town offices are not just new registrants but 95,811 of Bohol’s 799,089 registered voters.
Comelec, through Atty. Labaria said the May 6 registration onwards happens only from Sunday to Thursday, 8:00-5:00 PM.
The 95,811 voters, or some 12 % of the voters are those who may have been allowed to vote in the recent elections, could be denied in 2016, for having no biometric profiles at the local Comelec.
The biometric profiles comprise of a computerized facial data capture, electronic thumb-mark and electronic signature which are taken at the local Comelec biometric data capture station.
These then would be sent to the national Comelec databank, which uses an Automated Fingerprint Identification System which matches one’s biometrics data with millions of other people if only to make sure you were not registered as another voter.
By elections in 2016, the Comelec would be using the biometrics extensively, in line with the goal towards paper-less elections, Labaria shared.
Here, a person’s identity is established through a computer which matches its stored biometrics, that failure to submit to a biometric profiling can simply be a reason for disenfranchisement.
Comelec also said voters who need correction of entries, or those who have failed to vote successively in the last two polls can join the fray and fill up corresponding forms to be updated.