Comelec firm on Sept. 30 deadline as registered voters hit 61M

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) – The Commission on Elections hit past its voter registration target weeks ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline and it has no plans of extending it.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said 61.06 million Filipinos are now eligible to vote in the May 9, 2022 national and local polls, exceeding its 59 million target.

"We've already ruled on this issue," Jimenez said, referring to last week's en banc decision to reject petitions to extend the registration deadline so as not to affect other preparations for the elections.

Comelec offices in Metro Manila and select provinces stopped accepting applications for new voters and transferees this month due to lockdowns meant to curb rising COVID-19 infections. This prompted some lawmakers and civic groups to call for a later registration deadline to avoid voter disenfranchisement.

On Monday, Chairman Sheriff Abas said more than two million additional voters have registered during the past year despite the pandemic, matching the usual increase during previous registration cycles.

He said he expects "thousands more" to register in the next five weeks, after Comelec offices extended registration hours in areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays and up to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

Mall-based registrations are likewise expected to boost sign-ups, Abas added, following the signing of a deal to use Ayala Malls as satellite venues. The Comelec has a similar arrangement with Robinsons Malls.

Existing rules prohibit voter registration activities in areas under strict lockdown.