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Does My Vote Really Matter in the Philippines?

  • By Jan Martin

“Every vote counts” is a phrase that we can soon anticipate to hear as the 2022 Philippine election season approaches. According to the Commission on Election, a whopping 60 million voters are already registered for the upcoming elections. Four Million of these are first time voters. This is a huge accomplishment. It seems that the country, and more particularly, the new registered voters, are ready to cast their votes. The big question is, does your vote really matter?

Let's break these questions down.

Your Vote Has a Purpose

‘Every vote counts’ is a phrase that’s far from just a slogan used to encourage voting. This is the foundation of our democracy. The vote we cast in an election, will directly determine what happens to our country in the next 6 years. Your vote counts, so much so, that it is of the utmost importance that you vote with a purpose.

For someone voting for the first time, doing so with a purpose can seem a little overwhelming. You have the power to choose from political candidates that will shape your future. But how do you know what to look for in a good candidate?

How to do your research before voting:

  1. Look at the past - With the new age of media, as everything is posted on social platforms, it’s not difficult to go back in the last 10 to 20 years to see what type of work a candidate has done for this country.

  2. Learn of a candidate’s purpose - Find out what a candidate promises to do and ask yourself if this is what you want for the future of the Philippines.

  3. Look for consistencies in a candidate’s actions and promises - Making a promise is easier said than done. Try to see if a candidate’s actions mirror their words.

  4. Be aware of a candidate’s political partners - Every candidate has their running partners, teams, and allies. These are potentially the group of people who will work alongside a candidate, to make the big decisions while in office. It’s important that you don’t only do your research on one candidate, but rather, on their entire team of officials running for office.

The research you do before voting will give you the power to make an informed decision. This is the most powerful vote you can make. It is a vote with a purpose. You are not encouraged or influenced by any of your peers or your environment during election season. You are making this decision based on what you believe will be what’s best for the future of your country. This is a way of voting that can truly make a difference.

Your Vote Impacts the Final Count

To help put things into perspective, allow me to explain how your singular vote can create a ripple in a sea of votes in the Philippines.

In the 2016 elections, the official election results of the two top candidates for Vice President were significantly close. Current V.P. of the Philippines, Maria Robredo, received 35.1% of the votes. Coming close after her was Ferdinand Marcos Jr with 34.5% of the votes. The difference was only 263,473 votes. With 42,000 barangays in the Philippines, if only an additional 7 people per barangay voted for Marcos, he would have surpassed the current V.P.’s vote count, and beat her for the position.

The COMELEC data from 2019 showed that 31% of the 61 Million total registered voters in the Philippines are from Generation Z (ages 18-29). From this, 2.5 million were new voters. That’s 60 new voters for each barangay in the Philippines. Just imagine the difference each new registered voter can make in this upcoming election.

If you want to see an improvement in our country, registering as a voter is possibly the most important thing you can do as a Filipino citizen.

If you have never voted, here’s a quick guide to help you register as a voter!

How Can I Register to Vote in 2021?

The biggest hurdle many new voters experience is the chaos of the voting system. You'll find yourself on Google Search typing in the big question: how do I vote in the Philippines? And, when it's time to finally vote at your local precinct, it will be a little too late if you didn't register as a voter.

This is a common mistake many citizens make that prohibits them from actually casting their vote. But worry not, as it is an exciting time to be a new voter in the Philippines with Smart partnering up with Vote Pilipinas to make the registration process easier and more convenient for every citizen.

Here’s how!

  1. Go to www.votepilipinas.com.

  2. Take the short Voter Registration Service Test prompted on the website.

  3. Get your registration requirements which will show up after you finish the assessment test. You may choose to either download or have all the registration details sent to you by e-mail.

  4. Additionally, you can open their Registration Requirements tab found on the upper right corner of their website anytime.

If you are unsure of your registration status or have other questions, you may inquire directly through email at voters_id@comelev.gov.ph or call the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) at your nearest local COMELEC office.

Vote Pilipinas!

'Every vote counts' is a phrase that has a far more significant meaning than just something you see/hear/read during election season.

The Smart and Vote Pilipinas partnership is dedicated to help make the voter’s registration process easier to understand and more accessible.

As the country’s leading mobile services provider, Smart is in a unique and significant position to expand the reach of ‘Vote Pilipinas' using the power of digital technology and our nationwidest and nation fastest network

Take advantage of this partnership and make your impact with your vote in the upcoming 2022 elections, and all future elections in the Philippines. Now that you are equipped with knowledge of how you can exercise your power to vote, make this one count. Register, and invite everyone in your circle to do the same!