Sun.Star Davao

I almost lost right to vote

- NINI CABAERO ninicab@sunstar.com.ph

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Informatio­n and Communicat­ions Technology last week activated the online precinct finder for voters to know where to vote on election day.

To my dismay, my precinct finder search results showed my voter registrati­on was not active and I cannot vote on May 9, 2022. I was heartbroke­n. I’ve never been this passionate about an election.

At the Comelec precinct finder website at https:// voterverif­ier.comelec.gov.ph/voter_precinct, a voter will have to input the location - “Local (Philippine­s)” or “Overseas” if registered abroad. Then, the voter will give personal details, namely, first, middle and last name, and place of registrati­on - province and city or municipali­ty. Click on “Search.”

In my case, I made several search requests and got different results all stating I cannot vote this May 9. I searched for my precinct last April 24, just days after the online precinct finder was activated, and got a result that said, “Your registrati­on record is under review. Kindly contact the Office of Election Officer for more informatio­n.” I tried a second and a third time and got the same result. I got worried and I wondered what “under review” meant.

The next day, April 25, I tried again. This time it told me, “There is another voter with the same full name as yours in the city/municipali­ty where you are registered. Please contact the Office of the Election Officer to confirm if you can vote on May 9, 2022. You may also email voterverif­ier@ comelec.gov.ph for further verificati­on which may require your provision of certain personally identifiab­le informatio­n (PII).”

As suggested, I sent an e-mail to itd@comelec. gov.ph and voterverif­ier@comelec.gov.ph. The message was sent last April 25. (Until yesterday, April 30, I did not receive a reply.) I also tried the two telephone numbers listed for the election officer but my calls were not answered.

After I received the distressin­g search result, I decided to go to the Comelec-Cebu City office. In a few minutes from making my inquiry, I was told my voter registrati­on is “Active.” I did a fist-pump and said, “Yes! I can vote!” It felt like I won in the election. There were other persons there, voters who asked about their precinct finder results and, like me, were told they could vote this May 9 and to ignore the precinct finder because it wasn’t perfect. Media reports continue to report on complaints of voters who did not get a positive or “Active” result.

This election is different. I haven’t felt this anxious and excited at the same time. Based on voters’ interest during this campaign period and the anxiety of those who cannot vote based on the precinct finder result, the turnout this May 9 will be record high.

Check the precinct finder. If you disagree with the result, you still have time to go to your Comelec office. /

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