TACLOBAN CITY- Over 78,000 voters in the region could no longer cast their votes in the May 9, 2016 elections. This after they failed to have their biometrics taken as mandated by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Based on the records of the regional Comelec office, there were 78,325 voters who would now be ineligible to cast their votes in the summer balloting. “We have done our part to make sure that they could have their biometrics taken,” lawyer Felicisimo Embalsado, assistant poll director, said. Of the 78,325 deactivated voters, the bulk was from Leyte at 25,005. Embalsado is also the acting Leyte elections supervisor. The remaining were from Samar (23,934); Northern Samar (16,005); Eastern Samar (7,443); Southern Leyte, 4,850 and Biliran, 1,088. With the deactivation of these voters from the list, the region has now 2.69 million registered voters who are qualified to vote for the May 9 elections. Embalsado said that the Comelec could not be blamed why the 78, 325 voters were now disqualified to cast their votes. He said that they have sent registered mails to the voters or in the absence of available postal service, sought assistance to the barangay officials.
The Comelec also placed tarpaulins regarding their “no bio, no boto” campaign in conspicuous places in all areas in the region just to ensure that those who have no biometrics could visit their respective polling offices and have their biometrics taken. Embalsado said that having a biometrics is very important in ensuring the result of the conduct of election would be clean. “It will help clean our registered list of voters,” he said. According to him, a registered voter could no longer vote twice because he will be detected through the automated finger print identification system if he already cast his vote. The Comelec official, however, said that these voters could still cast their votes in the next electoral exercise, which could be the barangay polls on October, 2016, if they would have their biometrics taken. (JOEY A. GABIETA)