A youth group welcomed the passage of a bill in Congress that calls for the extension of the period of voter registration for next year’s national elections.
“It is a big win and a big push for our call to extend voter’s registration,” said Percival Cendaña, leader of Akbayan Youth and former commissioner of the National Youth Commission.
The House of Representatives and the Senate on Monday night unanimously approved a measure seeking to extend the voter registration deadline for the May 2022 national and local elections for another 30 days.
With 193 affirmative votes, the chamber approved House Bill 10261, which proposes to fix the last day of registration of voters for the 2022 polls.
Currently, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) set the deadline on September 30.
“We are almost there,” said Cendaña. He said the measures provide “more breathing space” to accommodate more voter registrants and reduce the threat of large-scale voter disenfranchisement.
The youth leader said the passage of the bill “sends a strong message to the Comelec that the growing clamor to extend voter’s registration cannot be ignored anymore.”
On Tuesday, the Comelec announced that it will “likely” give voters more time to register for the May 2022 national and local polls.
James Jimenez, the poll body’s spokesman, said that Comelec officials are considering an extension of the period of voter registration.
The poll body last week said it can only give a one-week extension limited to new registrants and voter reactivation after the September 30 deadline.
Final details of how long the extension would last will be announced on Wednesday after the Comelec’s en banc meeting, said Jimenez.
The commission earlier rejected calls for an extension, saying that closing the registration period at a later date would delay other preparations for next year’s polls.