WHAT IS POLITICAL PARTICIPATION?
Political participation is an integral part of a healthy democracy. This includes a range of activities wherein citizens can influence how the country, locality, or community are governed.
As citizens, all are called to partake in activities to develop their knowledge and views on governance and social issues. Political participation can also evolve into joining civil society organizations and movements, political parties' involvement, and even running for office. Citizens have the freedom to participate in these voluntary activities, especially in registering and voting in elections.
How else can a citizen politically participate? Contacting public officials to create a local ordinance, demanding accountability and transparency from elected officials, and joining civic movements that empower the marginalized are few activities that you can partake in beyond elections.
Elections help in making governing officials hear your voice. By participating in elections, you send your message to political leaders regarding what kind of government you want and how you want to be governed.
Your vote can create lasting change because it is your chance to make a stand on issues that directly impact you or your community. When we select the right leaders, we can have better policies or legislation that can help us have better lives as citizens of the country.
Voting is also a right and a duty that you can only do every three years. You have the power to determine who can better represent you and your community in the government and who can make a positive impact on your life and the lives of the people you love.
How to Register
Because voting is a privilege and not everyone can vote, you need to make sure that you are registered. In preparation for the 2022 elections, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) set the voter’s registration from 01 September 2020 to 30 September 2021 only. If you are a Filipino citizen, will be 15-18 years old on or before 09 May 2022, and a resident of the Philippines for at least one year and a resident for at least 6 months of the locality where you will vote, then you are eligible to become a registered voter.
If you are ready to register, all you need to remember are the 3Ms: Maghanda, Makipagugnayan, Magpakita.
Prepare all your COMELEC requirements such as:
More than one (1) original and photocopy of a valid ID that shows your current address
One (1) original and photocopy of an accomplished COMELEC Voter’s Registration Form which you can download here: https://irehistro.comelec.gov.ph/
HOW TO BE AN INFORMED VOTER
Now that you know how important your vote is, electing the right political official matters. The first step is to research the candidates that you are choosing. Take time to know the candidates, their stands on the different issues, their political track record, and lastly, their values and ideals.
The second step is verification. With the different disinformation campaigns and propaganda on various media platforms, you must know if your information is true and accurate.
After knowing the candidates and verifying the facts you have on hand, the third and last step is to create criteria based on what you think a good leader should be. Elections should not be a place where choosing the lesser evil is the only action to be taken; rather, you need to set criteria of a good governing leader that the candidates should aspire to be.
HOW TO VOTE?
Note that the voting guidelines below are based on the 2019 midterm elections held last 13 May 2019. The guidelines may change in the coming 2022 national elections in observance of health protocols.
You can only get one chance to vote, so make sure to follow the guidelines on polling places. Start with identifying who you would be voting for during the election day. Make a list of the candidates you will choose.
Second, know your precinct. Familiarize yourself with the location of the polling place and get there early. Voting hours start at 6 AM and end at 6 PM. If you are not sure where you can vote, you can check the COMELEC precinct finder. Bring an identification card with you.
Once you arrive at the precinct, look for your name on the voter’s list and search for your designated room. Upon arriving at the room, ask the board of elections inspectors (BEI) chairperson to get your ballot, ballot secrecy folder, and marking pen. Only use the pen that has been handed out to you by the BEI. Upon getting your ballot, you can sit down on the available seats inside the room.
Vote by marking the circle next to the name of your chosen candidate. Make sure to vote only for the number indicated by each position and do not vote above the maximum number of candidates.
Once you are good with your ballot, approach the BEI again to cast your vote, wherein they will feed your ballot to the voting counting machine (VCM). Wait for the VCM to print a receipt of your ballot. Double-check if the machine counted your vote correctly based on your receipt and drop it on the voting receipt box.
Lastly, have your finger marked with indelible ink that will indicate that you have successfully voted.
What You Can Do To Promote Citizen Participation and Informed Voting
Political participation does not begin and end during the election day. There are various activities that you can participate in such as:
Sharing verified news and information on your social media accounts
Joining local civic engagement movements or civil society organizations
Campaigning actively on social issues via protests
Contacting public officials, local city councils, or barangay leaders regarding issues related to your community
Participate is a program that aims to increase and enhance non-partisan political participation by the citizenry and civil society organizations as an essential element of true democratic governance. In the months ahead, we, as a consortium, will be organizing webinars, publishing journal articles, launching social media campaigns among others to reach our objectives of bolstering citizen oversight on the electoral process, increasing the availability and accessibility of information to promote informed voting, and supporting electoral reform and constituency-building.
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