Volunteers wanted for biometrics drive

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Filipinos on Tuesday were asked by an election lawyer to heed a call of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista to act as “volunteer voter educators” to reach out to the reported 4.3 million registered voters who might be disenfranchised for lack of biometrics data.

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Most voters, according to Romulo Macalintal, do not know whether they are already biometrically registered and some believe that if they had voted in past elections or have voter’s ID, they already have biometrics data.

With the reported Internet connectivity projects of Manila and Quezon City that are giving free wi-fi hotspot to the public, he said, the volunteers could assist the Comelec in informing voters with no biometric information that it is easy to determine if a voter is already biometrically registered.

“To find out your voting status, just log on to ‘Precinct Finder’ of the Comelec website.
There you would be asked your name and date of birth. After giving this information… it tells you your voting status. If it says your ‘biometric information is available,’ then you are already biometrically registered. If it says ‘not available’ or you lack certain requirements, then you have to go to the nearest Comelec office for validation,” Macalintal said in a statement.

The volunteers, he added, can choose an area in Manila or Quezon City and bring their laptop computers there, encouraging others to do the same.

“With blank sheets of paper, let us ask people in the area to write their names and dates of birth and let us verify their voting status from the Precinct Finder,” Macalintal said.

“I have done this in a barangay in Pasay City [Metro Manila] with the assistance of members of the Pasay City Rotary Cub wherein 15 members brought their laptop computers and pocket wi-fi and we were able to assist close to 400 voters in knowing their registration status,” he added.

“If we can do this every day in these free wi-fi areas, we would be assisting thousands of voters in giving them information on their voting status. I have asked some principals and teachers to make this a “Special Project of the Month” for their high school students–where each student will be asked to get the names of at least ten relatives or friends of voting age and their dates of birth for purposes of assisting them in verifying if they are biometrically registered. Such project could even start our youth’s active participation in our electoral processes,” according to the election lawyer.

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