Comelec-GenSan convenes Election Registration Board to validate voter applications

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/12 Nov) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to convene the city’s election registration board to assess and validate the applications for registration of new voters from the city’s 26 barangays.

Lawyer Jose Villanueva, city election officer, said the assessment and validation is part of the processes set by the Comelec to ensure that the registered voters within a locality are legitimate and to prevent possible irregularities in the May 2013 midterm national and local elections.

The registration board, which has set an initial hearing on Nov. 19, comprises the Department of Education’s city division, Local Civil Registrar and the city Comelec as chair, he said.

“We will check all these applications one by one and decide whether to  approve them or not,” Villanueva said.

He said the assessment and validation will cover all applications filed during the last quarter of the regular registration period, which ended last Oct. 31.

The election registration board is mandated “to act on all applications for registration” as provided for under Republic Act (RA) 8189 or the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996.

It said the board, by majority vote, shall approve or disapprove the applications and eventually publish them.

Villanueva said their mandate includes addressing questions or complaints regarding the validity of the applications for registration, specifically those involving the non-compliance of the
six months minimum residency requirement.

The official admitted that his office earlier received reports on the alleged registration as voters in the city of residents coming from nearby Sarangani province but no formal complaints or petitions have been so far filed regarding the matter.

“We cannot just act based on mere verbal complaints or speculations,” Villanueva stressed.

On reports that some local politicians and their allies had ferried residents to the Comelec office during the registration period, he said they don’t see any problem with them as long as the applicants were legitimate residents of the city and have complied with the residency and other registration requirements.

The city’s total population has reached 538,086 based on the 2010 census of population and housing and registered voters of 263,082 in the 2010 national and local elections. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)