Voter registration started as early as last year but it seems thousands choose to wait until the deadline on this month of September to list up.
As a response, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) teamed up with shopping malls for a national synchronized voter registration to accommodate more voter applicants before September 30.
Aside from the facilities that are spacious enough for the maintenance of social distancing in this time of pandemic, malls are also equipped with resources that Comelec offices don’t have such as the availability of marshals as guide for the observation of health protocols.
What to Prepare?
- Birth Certificate for upcoming 18 years old or those with no valid IDs
- Valid Id:
- Student ID (or School Library ID signed by school authority)
- Employee’s ID (with signature of employer or authorized representative)
- Senior Citizen ID
- PWD Discount ID
- Driver’s License
- NBI Clearance
- SSS/GSIS ID
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines ID
- PRC License
- Postal ID
- NCIP Certificate of Confirmation (for members of ICCs or IPs)
*Cedula and Police Clearance will not be honored
- Printed CEF 1 (You can fill out initially here.)
- Pen (you need to fill out the form completely at the actual site)
How many batches are there for voter registration?
Beating the deadline of voter registration, COMELEC is now running from Monday to Saturday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. They accommodate 2 batches: in the morning and afternoon.
- Morning Batch
People line up as early as 3:00 to 4:00 am and priority numbers are handed out at 6:00 am. A total of 500 people will be accommodated in the morning. Once it reaches the maximum number, the cut off is then marked to give way for the afternoon batch.
If you are free for the whole day, then this is for you. Due to the high number of people lining up, the whole voter registration procedure in the morning could last a whole day.
- Afternoon Batch
For those who have work, don’t fret since they offer second batch in the afternoon. They accommodate 160 people but with nearing voter registration deadline, they have accept beyond the target number.
The afternoon is also less stressful than the morning batch since you will surprisingly finish the whole voter registration procedure around 7pm. In fact, the people at the rear end of the line of the morning batch was already at the site as early as 6:00 am so, you could imagine the stress.
In my experience, I went there 9:00 am in the morning, no more priority numbers so I was told to come back at 4:00 pm. I did follow what I’ve been told and got my priority number of 591 at exactly 4:00 pm.
- Chance passenger
Let’s use the term “chance passenger” for those who have no priority numbers but are awaiting for chances at the end of the line. I saw a few people asking one of the in charge and were pointed to the end of the line (I am not sure, though but knowing the deadline is getting nearer, you could always try.) I also heard the COMELEC staffs announcing, “Last call. 2 minutes left.”
This happened around 6:30 pm or when the end of the line is almost done. So, if you can’t come around 4:00 pm due to work, you can try at this time.
What are the steps?
There are a total of 4 steps but before you could reach step 1, you’ll endure the line for priority number and the time at the waiting area.
Initial: Priority Number Line
The line starts at the entrance 2, nearby Starbucks. The time of handing out priority numbers in the morning batch is at 6:00 am while 4:00 pm for the afternoon batch.
Your priority number is enough to give you the idea of the wait time of your turn. So, if you are heading at SM around 5:00 am, prepare some snacks or enough money for food for the whole day.
For afternoon batch, just line up after the end of morning batch line. You will all be instructed to line up accordingly at exactly 4:00 pm. Priority numbers were then handed out 15minutes after.
With 591 as my number, I entered the mall premise at 4:30pm.
Initial: Waiting Area
Waiting area is at 5th floor at the center area. Once your turn is up, focus and go straight to the 5th floor. There aren’t any signs where to head to. Once you reach the 5th floor, don’t get too distracted, go straight to the center area with grass floor.
It took an hour before proceeding to step 1.
Step 1: Interview
Waiting time for your turn is around 30 min and the interview. However, the duration for this step depends on how prepared you are. Go back here “What to prepare”.
I’ve initially filled out online and printed my CEF1 ahead.
You can fill out initially here. As a note, print the pages back to back. There are 3 copies, the first copy (1st and 2nd page) contains the acknowledgement slip while none for the 2nd and 3rd copy (2nd to 6th page). The last page (7th page) contains the barcode. Below are the following information that are filled out initially.
It only took me 5 minutes to finish. I’ve also prepared my valid ID ahead and as a new registrant, I also brought a receipt with my address (or any proof for your address in the city). What the interviewer only did is checked my ID, confirmed for my type of registration, checked my receipt with the address to find my respective precinct. Application number and precinct number were filled out by the interviewer and checked the following items needed to be filled out. Check out below:
You then proceed to the area with table and chairs for filling out the forms. There are two assigned staffs in the area who will receive and check the forms once filled out. They will call your name if there are any corrections and once done, it will be forwarded to step 2.
Step 2: Logbook
Two staffs are also assigned in this area who will encode the application forms. They do this in batches. Waiting time is around 20 minutes. Once called, they will give you back your application forms then proceed to step 3.
Step 3: Biometrics
Waiting time for this step is the same for around 10 to 15 minutes but the procedure itself will only last for 5 minutes. Give out your application form to the staff and 2hat you will only need to do is answer a few questions, picture taking, digital signature and biometrics. Application form is handed back and next is step 4.
Step 4: Thumbmark
This only last for a minute. The clear plastic with the ink is where you press both your thumb and mark the 3 copies of your application. The staff will tear the acknowledgement slip and you are good to go.
All steps took me 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Voting rights are the most important element of the electoral system. Exercise your right to vote. Register now! You still have 15 days more to go!