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Voter Registration is Faster Than Lazada, Youth Can Elect a President

The most important elections of our lifetime, by the numbers.
by Clara Rosales
Jul 30, 2021
Photo/s: Noel Celis, Agence France-Presse
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By sheer number, Gen Z and Millennials can decide the most crucial national election in recent years, one that will chart the country's path out of the COVID-19 pandemic, official data showed.

The youth vote, or those aged 18 to 35, comprise 37% of the entire electorate according to COMELEC data. That's 22.6 million people, more than the 16 million who elected President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 and the 15 million who voted for the late Noynoy Aquino in 2010.

The COMELEC has a target of 61 million voters for the upcoming 2022 elections. As of July 8, the comission has registered 4.3 million new voters, bringing the total number of registered voters to 60 million, spokesperson James Jimenez said.

Filipinos get to choose a president and vice president every six years, during which they exercise their right to vote for a candidate they deem worthy of helming the country. Gen Zs born as late as 2004 will be first-time voters in 2022.

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It can be quite intimidating to register, but we've rounded up everything we know about signing up to vote.

Here's everything you need to know about voter registration for the 2022 elections:

The basics

Voter registration is only until Sept. 30, 2021, and you can fill out the registration form online before making a physical appearance. COMELEC offices are open Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to process your registration.

Have your forms ready

If you choose the iRehistro way and sign up on the site, you can book an appointment. By then, all the details you supply will be inputted into a form you can print. Unfortunately, online appointment slots are full for the COMELEC office near me, but I can still go to the office during working hours to submit my forms.

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Alternatively, you can fill out the form straight as a PDF, which is what I did.

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If you’re a person with disability, a senior citizen with disability, or you’re part of an indigenous community, fill out the supplementary data form, or Annex B form. This is to help staff determine the kind of help you’ll need in filling out forms and on the day of the election, such as visual or physical assistance. For those living in remote areas, this will also let staff know to assign you to an accessible precinct.

Before you enter the COMELEC office, fill out the health declaration form and print it ahead of time. This is for contact tracing purposes and to ensure the safety of staff and registrants.

Bring your other requirements

Bring your forms, a valid ID, a photocopy of that valid ID, and your own pen. Be sure to have a face mask and shield on at all times.

Schedules and venues

The COMELEC has a list of offices and registration sites in Metro Manila and nationwide, with most operating Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Satellite registration sites are also available in commercial establishments. Check out the list of Robinsons Malls branches offering voter registration processing.

What takes time?

Filling out the form can be done in 10 minutes, but processing time at the COMELEC office depends on several factors. Some offices have less foot traffic while some are filled every day.

Some satellite registration sites are open on Saturdays and Sundays. Registration in partner malls are also subject to the mall’s operating hours. Some are closed on certain days for routine disinfection.

A friend took about thirty minutes to an hour to submit documents and have her biometrics taken. A family member who reactivated their status took about the same time to get the process done.

Keep in mind that more people means longer waiting time, so it’s best to go months or weeks ahead of the deadline to avoid the last-minute crowds.

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Here are other things to know

The form is six pages long

Don’t freak out, there’s no essay section or math problems. All you have to do is fill out the form with details you already know like your full name, address, date of birth and application status.

The actual form is only two pages, but you have to fill it out three times, so it’s six pages when you print it. You’re essentially entering the same information three times.

You can fill it out online

We’ll get straight to it—you can fill out the form right then and there after you’ve clicked the link. No need to open a PDF reader or print it out then write manually. All the fields you need to fill out are highlighted in blue, depending on your registration status (application, reactivation, transfer).

You can also opt to download an unsigned form and fill it out on your PDF reader or on printed paper, but I filled it out on the website, saved it as a file, then printed the six pages.

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Any which way works, just be sure you have six pages in total with complete information.

Don’t sign it at home

Whatever you do, don’t sign it before going to the COMELEC office. You still have to make a physical appearance and sign the documents in front of an officer as proof that all information is correct and it really was you who underwent the whole registration process.

Things that take longer than signing up to vote

Waiting for the vaccine

It took the Philippines four months to start administering the vaccines to essential workers. Some areas like Quezon City for a time had residents waiting hours just to enter the registration site.

Your payday order

More people buy from e-commerce sites during the monthly and payday sales to make the most of vouchers and discounts. You might add to cart at midnight, but orders usually arrive two to three days after you’ve checked out, sometimes longer if it’s from overseas and if the weather is bad.

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Getting your first credit card

Your application for your first credit card may have been accepted, but it still takes the bank seven to 10 business days to put you in the system, print your card, and ship it to your doorstep.

That cake from a homebaker

Baking a cake takes time and effort, and rightfully so if you’re after the best slice you’ve had in your life. There’s no online form or shortcut to a good cake, and some shops have a lead time anywhere between two days to two weeks.

The Philippines’ wait for an Olympic gold medal

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz ended the country’s 97-year gold drought.

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