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What to Do if I Can’t Participate in Voter Registration

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Sep 15, 2021

Voting is one of the most important rights to exercise your democracy, but it’s also a privilege that not many people have the luxury to do. To qualify for voter registration, one must be a Filipino citizen, over 18 years old on or before Election Day (May 9, 2022), and a resident of the Philippines for at least one year and of the place you intend to vote in for at least six months. 

While other criteria may be easier to fill, the age aspect might be a little frustrating for those younger than 18 who want to help shape the future. If you’re one of them, look no further! There is a lot you can do to keep engaged with the elections and beyond. After all, to live in a democratic country means that the voice of the people — from all ages, SOGIE, social class, and background — gets to be heard.

Boost Voter Registration

You may not be able to register, but YOU can drive people to the polls! Most people’s interactions with the government and its policies run at a very local level. So, more than just encouraging the public — which can be a vast scope — focus your efforts on your household and community. Talk to others at the basic level and ask about their plans and opinions, beyond just the interweb’s echo chambers. Share as much voting information and updates as you can and encourage your family, friends, acquaintances, or even strangers to register if they fit within the criteria. If it helps, we have a few tips on that!

And while you’re at it, heed the call to extend voter registration!

Amplify Current Issues 

It’s important to remember that YOU have a voice too! You have the right to voice your opinions, engage in the current issues, and call for action. In fact, there are many youth-led movements and organizations that do this already! Do your own research from credible sources on what is happening right now and hit up local officials through telephone or email if you have concerns worth sharing. You can even look into yourself on what is affecting you and your family personally because most of the time, it derives from a bigger picture (e.g. the challenges of online classes and the current education situation in the pandemic). 

If you feel you’re not knowledgeable enough, it’s always okay to ask someone else, especially from those who are most affected. Asking questions is key in understanding each other’s plights and going beyond our bubbles of privilege. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or change your opinions. And with what you’ve learned, advocate those causes and engage with others about them, whether via social media, within the classroom, or talking to your peers and community. Bring awareness to what matters, relate these issues in retrospect to their lives, and answer any questions they may have. But, remember: Never engage in a way that discourages and alienates. 

Take Note: The COMELEC is expected to publish a tentative list of candidates by late October 2021. With that, read up on whoever candidates have made it to the list from their background to their platforms. And strike up a convo about it with someone else!

Be Involved

While you can’t physically vote, YOU can still be involved! There are numerous ways to be an involved citizen. We’ve previously listed some action steps, but aside from those, there are many events and activities today in line with civic education! Many volunteer-run and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are organizing talks you can tune in to online. There are also public forums for the interactive type of sessions. And these are especially helpful with guest speakers who bring diverse opinions, different angles, more meaningful debate, and an overall progression of ideas. 

At the same time, many politicians and government entities would publicize public meetings. You can find their live streams via social media or read the reports from news publications. With that, you can do your part by listening in and forming your own opinions over these matters. And while you’re there, why not reshare these accounts and encourage others to attend too! So, when the time comes for your turn to vote, you’re prepared to form your own opinions without biases. 

Volunteer for an Organization

If one is not enough, then YOU can be part of a collective voice! Whether you’re part of the student council, campus org, or youth-led movement outside of school, you have the benefit of being with like-minded people with the same drive and motive, working with other people to create bigger meaning and a wider audience that will pay attention. Aligning yourself with an organization will give you structure and more guidance and learnings as you go on. If you feel your individual voice may not be heard, at least your community as a whole can be because a strong collective voice is harder to ignore. 

As a collective, you can organize events to boost civic education or create digestible guides on voter registration, candidates, or advocacy and social issues. Sharing news, research, and information to a bigger audience, even just from the campus level, is a huge feat in itself and you should take advantage of that. You can even have a platform to fund-raise for a cause with that wide of a scope.

As you become more politically engaged, take into consideration that everything is a process and that life is a steep learning curve. Collaborating and coordinating with others is critical in dissent, but listening and, above all, empathizing with others is what can truly create a dent in influencing change. 

Art by Inna Cruz

 

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