Article by: Richelle Joy Belgira

Hello, first time voter!

Are you thrilled to finally exercise your right to vote? Are you ready to make your voice heard? As part of the youth, the most dynamic and active sector, your vote indeed counts. A single tally, after all, can ignite transformation in society.

Cliché as it may be, simply by modeling responsible citizenship to your fellow youth can go a long way. That is why it is important to exercise your rights and to do your part in nation-building. The right to vote is more than just a right but a responsibility that must be fulfilled.

Here then is a guide to aid you in your new prestigious endeavor!

1. Be Ready.

As early as now, scrutinize each csa bayan, you should know better! Mere popularity and high survey ratings are not our standard but rather our leaders' integrity and actual capability to lead the nation towards development.

Now for the actual requirements. You should be 18 years of age on or before the time of elections in order to qualify as a voter. This legal age is agreed to be a measure of one's competence in managing his or her affairs, which includes handling responsibilities and decision-making duties.

Also, you should have resided in the Philippines for at least one year, and at least six months immediately preceding the elections in the city or municipality where you intend to vote.

If you have met the qualifications then you are ready to take on the next step!

2. Get Set.

The first step is to register.

Go to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) office in the city or municipality where you intend and are qualified to vote.

As a first time voter, bring any of the following identification documents that you have: your student ID, your driver’s license, or passport. You can also bring your birth certificate when you have none of this. Also, bring your own pen to avoid any hassle in filling out the application forms.

Approach the election officers and inform them of your intent to apply for registration.

Present the necessary documents.

Fill out the application form to be given by the election officer.

Allow them to take your biometric information (i.e. your picture, fingerprints, and signature).

Receive your Acknowledgement Receipt. Keep it for this will be your proof that you applied for registration.

The Election Registration Board will conduct a hearing on your application. The election officer will give you a schedule but you should still ask if you will be required to attend the hearing. Otherwise, wait for the confirmation that your application has been approved.

If you happen to be 15 to 17 years old and registered in the past Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, you are not automatically qualified for the national election. You should still register in the COMELEC in order to vote in the 2010 election.

Finally, make sure to accomplish all these before Halloween, 2009!

3. Vote.

The national elections are scheduled on the second Monday of May, 2010.

On the day of the election, go to your assigned precinct early to avoid any hassle due to long queues or weather disturbances. Listen to the procedures as to how your votes will be casted.

Always be on your feet! Your vote is sacred, you should guard it by all means.

The 2010 election is fast-approaching. No matter what threat is posed to the up-coming elections, this should not hinder us from carrying out our civil responsibilities. Every election is a crucial point in our history. More than ever, we are in a critical situation of economic downturns, severe political upheavals, and moral crises.

Your part is needed! Vote and pave the way for responsible citizenship as early as today!

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