Comelec extends voter registration hours, days

The Commission on Elections will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday starting this week to accommodate the growing number of people wanting to register to vote, Bacolod Election Officer Kathrina Trinio Caña said.

In March, the Comelec shortened voter registration hours to 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays because of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Eight employees of the Bacolod Comelec office also tested positive for COVID-19 in late March causing its temporary shutdown.

Since they are operating on a 50 percent workforce the Bacolod Comelec only has eight employees reporting daily so they are undermanned, Caña said.

However, they are doing their best to accommodate as many voter registrants as they can, she added.

Long lines of people have been seen gathering along San Juan Street as early as 5:30 a.m. to register to vote.

Caña said the line is necessary to ensure social distancing to prevent the spread on COVID-19.

Voter registrants who have no BaCTrac are required to write their names in a logbook for COVID-19 contact tracing, she said.

The Bacolod Comelec office can only accommodate 150 walk-in registrants and 50 with online appointments a day, plus senior citizens, persons with disabilities, heavily pregnant women, frontliners and Indigenous Peoples, Caña said.

Those beyond 150 who are in the walk-in line are told that they cannot be accommodated for the day but some refuse to leave, she said.

The Comelec is also set to resume satellite registration, its spokesperson James Jimenez announced Monday.*

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