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Temporary Pause in Voter Registration Proposed for Charter Change Signature Verification

Temporary Pause in Voter Registration
Temporary Pause in Voter Registration

In preparation for the upcoming 2025 midterm elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is contemplating a temporary pause in registration of voter to facilitate the verification of signatures submitted for a proposed people’s initiative to amend the Constitution. The potential suspension aims to allocate resources for the vital verification process. As election officers have limited capacity to handle both registration and signature verification simultaneously.

Logistical Challenge

Temporary Pause in Voter Registration | Photo Credits to the Rightful Owner

According to the report of ABS-CBN News, Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco explained the situation, emphasizing that the verification process could temporarily take precedence over voters’ registration. The logistical challenge arises from the fact that each municipality and city has only one election officer responsible for registration and verification. Making it impossible to carry out both tasks simultaneously.

While signature pages from over 600 municipalities and cities have been received, no formal petition for a people’s initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution has been submitted yet. Election officers are currently task with counting the signatures and issuing certifications regarding the number of signatures obtained.

Proponents of the people’s initiative plan to use these certifications as attachments to the formal petition to be present to Comelec. Upon receiving the petition, Comelec will evaluate whether it meets the twin requirements for a people’s initiative: signatures from at least 12 percent of the total 68 million registered voters and representation of each legislative district by at least 3 percent of registered voters.

Signature Verification Process

Once these sufficiency requirements are meet, Comelec will proceed to the verification of signatures. The initial verification will include checks for authenticity. Ensuring that signatures belong to real registered voters and match those in Comelec records.

The final number of verified signatures will be determine after the weeding process. Laudiangco noted that these signatures could be cross-referenced with those collected during the upcoming Comelec voter registration. Set to recommence on February 12. An additional 3 million voters are expect to register, bringing the total registered voters to 71 million.

Ensuring Integrity

Furthermore, signatures may be invalidated if voters claim they were not adequately informed about the use of their signatures for the initiative. The intricate process underscores the importance of accurate signature verification in the context of potential changes to the country’s Constitution.

As discussions surrounding constitutional amendments continue, the Comelec remains committed to ensuring the integrity of the people’s initiative process. And also the forthcoming elections.

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