Register and Vote!

Calling my Filipino kababayans… it’s time to register to vote!

The Presidential elections are set for next year, and with the deadline on October 31st, there are only 26 days left to register.

I just completed my registration at Parañaque City Hall, and it was such an easy and hassle-free experience that I want to share it with you.

You will only need the following:

  1. Photocopies of 2 valid government IDs (e.g. Driver’s license, Passport, UMID or SSS ID, Birth certificate)
  2. A pen

Here’s what you need to know:

Where do I go?

If you’re from Parañaque, the place to go is City Hall (to be fair, that’s probably the case for all districts too). Voter registration is on the 3rd floor. There are signs everywhere so you just have to follow them and you will not be lost. The line forms outside the door of the office so at first it can be daunting to see a slight crush of people. But most of those are just people milling around waiting for their turn or asking the officials for instructions. When we got there the line was only 4 people long.

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What do I need to do?

Prepare the photocopies of your IDs. I cannot emphasize enough that you have to have the photocopies when you get there, because even if you present your IDs to the official, they will still ask you for the copies. So you will have to run around looking for a copying machine, lose your place in line, and add unnecessary stress for yourself in the process. Of course it’s always good to have your original IDs with you just in case, but really they will only ask you for the copies.

Once it’s your turn they will review your documents and ask you what your voter status is. There are three kinds:

  1. Active voters but with no biometrics
  2. Inactive voters who haven’t voted in at least two previous elections (like me)
  3. Completely new voters

The only difference with the process is, active voters who just need the biometrics don’t need to fill out any forms. Their only step is to have their picture taken once their name is called. Inactive and new voters have to fill out a 2-page form in triplicate (hence the need for your own pen).

There are enough tables and seats so you can do all your writing in comfort. Also, see that? No line even.

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Once you’re done filling out the forms, go back to the official stationed outside the door, and you will be ushered inside. The stations are clearly marked so you know where to go: first to the validation, which is just an official reviewing your form to make sure you didn’t leave out anything; then to the picture-taking booth for your photo and biometrics, then to the last booth for your thumb prints. (In case you were wondering: they didn’t tell me otherwise, but for my photo I just opted for a closed-mouth smile).

And that is that!

For new and inactive voters, they will tell you that the actual voter’s ID might take a few weeks. But they will give you a stub to claim it when it’s ready, and it’s just as valid as the actual ID. So don’t lose it!

Everything went well and we were done in an hour. We didn’t even have to be there first thing in the morning, which we all know is usually the case when we have to get any official documents.

The officials at Parañaque City Hall were all, without exception, friendly and helpful. No one was snide or sarcastic, as people in these types of offices usually are. Maybe they are really trying to encourage voter registration. At one point, my niece and I had to stop for a bit and figure out what we were supposed to put in our forms, when a gentleman came up to us and volunteered the information we didn’t even ask for (but sorely needed). He reviewed our forms for us and told us what to write and where to write it, so by the time we went inside for the validation, everything was in place. I don’t know, maybe our faces were also really blank and we must’ve looked lost, but they were all so helpful. We even forgot our own pens (which is a cardinal rule I have for going to any government office), but another official gladly lent us a couple (as long as we promised to return them, which we did).

Honestly, I am the last person to care about politics and elections. There’s a reason I have voted only once in my life, when I turned 18 and I was still idealistic. But with the current political landscape, I think it’s time to try to care again.

If you’re reading this, you have internet and you have time to go on social media. You’re also probably like me and have given up. But this is exactly the point – yours is the voice that needs to be heard! Registration takes just about one hour. ONE HOUR.

Let’s do this. Go and register!