Biometrics Registration for the 2016 Elections has ended

Yesterday, as of 9:01 PM, marked the end of the registration period for the 2016 Elections.  What's so important about this registration period compared to the previous ones?  Well, for starters, every eligible voter who wants to vote during the 2016 Elections must have his biometrics information captured and plugged into the Voter Registration System.  Biometrics information, in this case, refers to the photograph, fingerprints and signature of the voter.  What this means is that if you were able to vote before in previous elections but have not updated your records with your biometrics information for the upcoming elections then you will not be able to vote.  The Commission on Elections has established "No Bio, no Boto" as their tagline for the 2016 Elections.

The COMELEC has not been remiss in reminding the public about this new structure and has in fact opened many areas and avenues with which to enable voters to update their records.  Biometrics capture was offered at the local COMELEC offices, at Philippine embassies and consulates, at the barangays and selected malls during scheduled satellite registration.

Patrick and I had planned our registration early.  For him, he wasn't able to vote in previous elections because he moved residences and he failed to register at the appointed time.  For me, I was able to vote in previous elections but I needed to update my records for biometrics capture for the upcoming 2016 elections.  So with this in mind, we awaited COMELEC's schedule for registration and biometrics capture.  We didn't consider going to the COMELEC offices because we assumed there were long lines.  Fortunately, Robinsons Malls partnered with COMELEC in September 2014 to serve as a satellite office for Biometrics capture.  We were lucky that one of the first malls to open for satellite registration was Robinsons Place Manila and specifically for our District in Manila.

I can't believe that I didn't post about it but a lot was happening during that time, so sorry.  We had a few errands to do that day so it was around 2 or 3PM that we got to Robinsons Manila.  We got to the designated area without any hitch because we knew our way around but when we got there it seemed chaotic because there were a lot of people.  But, there was a lot of COMELEC staff that were ready to assist and we were immediately directed to our area, where we found out that there was actually no line!  We were processed straightaway.  Patrick was first because his was the full-blown registration which meant he had to fill out a lot of forms and such.  With me, they just double checked my information and directed me to the Biometrics capture area.  It wasn't hard because the areas were labeled (as far as I can recall):

Step 1: Information Verification - for people like me who already have their information in the system but may need updating, like maybe they've gotten married or changed residences.  I skipped Step 2 and went directly to Step 3. Patrick had to go through it too just to ensure that he had no prior records.  Since he wasn't able to vote in the past elections, his records were expunged so he had to proceed to Step 2.  This step was relatively fast, less than 5 minutes.

Step 2: Information Encoding - Patrick's information was encoded into the system based on the forms he had to fill out.  This is a step for new registrants, effectively like Patrick was.  This process took about 5-10 minutes.  It depends on the speed of the encoder :)

Step 3:  Biometrics Capture  - This is the all-important step in the Registration Process.  This is where they take your picture, fingerprints and signature for your updated Voter's Record.  It was all speedy and efficient, probably about 5 minutes for the whole process.  

So, all in all, it probably took 30 minutes for Patrick and I to finish our whole Registration process.  The thing was, the registration doesn't actually end there.  You have to wait for your application to be approved by the COMELEC.  I only remembered to check ours when I learned that the registration period was ending.  I headed to COMELEC's Registration Verification page (click here) and this is the result:

You have to input the required data to search for your status - Full Name, Date of Birth and then hit the Captcha button.  

You will then be taken to a new page where you'll see the "Precinct Finder Result:  Single Record Found".  You will also see the pertinent details of your Registration, including the details where you're supposed to vote, like the school and the precinct number.  The Registration Status "Active" means that your registration application was approved and you're eligible to vote in the 2016 Elections.

They do mention that the Precinct Finder can only release results as of July 20 2015 because these were the most recent applications that the COMELEC has approved.  If you registered after that, you won't be able to see your results yet.  

The status of your Voter's ID is also indicated.  For ours, it was mentioned that it will take longer for an ID to be printed because our fingerprints still have to be crossmatched against the other million voters in the system to make sure that you aren't registered anywhere else.  That's to be expected.

Here's to a glitch-free voting in the 2016 Elections! :)  

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