Action for Economic Reforms (AER) joins other organizations, sectors, and ultimately, the Filipino electorate in appealing for an extension of voter registration. We echo the call to extend the voter registration deadline until October 31, 2021.

We urge the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to be generous in its support for would-be first- time voters. We are in extraordinary circumstances, thus demanding extraordinary adjustments.

Extending voter registration addresses several concerns. We wish to avoid significant voter disenfranchisement. We also wish to avoid turning voter sign-up hubs from becoming COVID-19 superspreaders.

And when the Comelec handed down its decision to abide by the current September 30 deadline, it reiterated that voter registration can only be conducted in areas subject to softer quarantine classifications (GCQ and MGCQ). But with the extension of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ in many locations, it is likely that many applicants will not be able to meet the original deadline for registration.

Each vote in 2022 matters. For AER, the 2022 elections will influence economic and development outcomes. The fate of tomorrow lies in today‚Äôs electorate. Maximum citizen participation in the elections is hence necessary.

The first step for the above to happen is a successful voter registration. And the metric of success is ensuring that all those who have to be registered are given the opportunity to do so amid the adverse conditions.