Home OPINION EDITORIAL Voters of the future

Voters of the future

Voters of the future

Extending the registration period for the 2022 elections by a month is a must.

The COVID-19 pandemic derailed the election calendar amid the mañana habit of some Filipinos.

Images of hundreds if not thousands of would-be voters queueing at registration centers even in the wee hours of the day is a testament to how important next year’s elections are.

The enthusiasm is most palpable among the young voters who have been organizing and cajoling their contemporaries to be involved in the “uprising” that only occurs every three years.

The numbers in the last two elections indicate the growing number of the youth (from 18-30 years old) in the voters’ demographics.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) director James Jimenez believes that now comprise 52% of the total registered voters, up from over 30 percent in the 2019 polls.

In a presentation over the weekend, Jimenez said as of July 2021, around 60.46 million Filipinos have signed up for the 2022 general elections, higher than Comelec’s target of 59 million, according to a CNN PHL report.

Out of that total, 31.41 million voters are in the age group of 18-40 years old, classified as the youth vote.

Despite the pandemic, Jimenez said the poll body expects to record more registered voters for the coming elections. In 2019, the number of registered voters stood at 61,843,771.

“We are closer to 62 million, the numbers keep growing. We have massive registration going on right now,” he said.

The Comelec has been processing over 25,000 registrants per day amid the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions in some areas.

In Iloilo City alone, Comelec-Iloilo City said it has enlisted 14,534 voters from September 6-25. The number has overshot its 12,000 target registrants for this year and closer to the 15,000-target since last year.

With the way things are going, extending the registration until October 31 is likely to increase the number of young voters, a real potent force in the upcoming political exercise.

The social media savvy and, surprisingly, politically active youths could make the difference in a political panorama that has been characterized by divisions and derisions.

Jose Rizal is most likely smiling as his belief that the youth is the future of the country has become more relevant than ever.