Voters urged to check precinct list to avoid disenfranchisement

Unso said voters should check their names from their local election officer or from lists posted in schools where the precincts are located, before election day.

The voters’ list is supposed to be posted by February 13, according to the Commission on Elections.

He admitted several cases of disenfranchisement in the past but added that most complaints stemmed from voters who could not find their names in the right precinct.

Thousands of voters around Mindanao complained that they could not find their names on the list of voters posted on precincts on the May 11, 2004 elections. It was also in the 2004 elections when President Arroyo was accused of cheating the elections, especially in Mindanao where election results were alleged to be rigged.

Unso said as of  end of October, Davao City already had more than 700,000 voters. As of that period also,  Southeastern Mindanao had 2 million voters. He said they could not yet account for the actual number as of December 31, the last day of application for voter's registration, because of logistic constraints. 

Unso said in the region they can come up with a list of election “hotspots”  which police prefer to call "elections areas of concern" by January 19.

He said the Comelec and the Philippine National police had started to evaluate election security concerns of the 2004 elections. The Comelec decides which area they will declared under Comelec control out from the list.

Based on the Comelec schedule, candidates for senator and local elective posts started filing their certificate of candidacy on January 15. They have up to February 12, while those aspiring for local posts have up to March 29.

The last day to file petition for inclusion of qualified voters in the local registry will be on January 28 and February 2 for exclusion. 

A month before election day, on April 14, the Comelec should provide each voter a copy voter's information sheet, which contains the voter's name, address, precinct, place of registration.

 It should also contain a simplified instruction on how to cast votes, an official sample ballot, and a list of all registered national, provincial, and city candidates to choose from.

Those who have relatives abroad who were able to register as absentee voters can vote between April 14 and the national election day on May 14. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)