By David Dizon, October 13, 2022; ABS-CBN News

Continuing voter registration, a bigger budget and a redesign of the ballot template: these and more are just some of the effects of the new law postponing the December 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections to 2023.

Atty. George Garcia, Commission on Elections chairman, said the poll body may need to stop the printing of ballots for at least a week to reflect the new date of the elections.

The new ballots will bear the new election date of October 2023 instead of December 5, 2022. A total of 5-6 million ballots have already been printed ahead of the December polls.

Comelec is also set to issue a resolution that the already printed ballots with the December 2022 date can still be used in next year’s manual elections.

Another effect of the postponed elections is an expected uptick in the number of registered voters.

Garcia said Comelec will resume registration of voters from November 2022 to May 2023, with the additional registrants to be included in the final count of total ballots that need to be printed.

At least 5 million new registrants could be added to the voters’ list, he said.

Local poll offices will be instructed not to print the list of voters for now due to the continuing registration.

The Comelec chief said the filing of certificates of candidacy on October 23-29, 2022 will not push through due to the polls postponement. Also expected not to push through for now are the Comelec gun ban and campaign period.

Garcia rejected proposals to realign the Comelec budget for the polls, saying the measure signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. mentions continuing appropriation. He said Comelec will need a bigger budget for next year’s election due to the larger number of voters.

The postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections could also spell bad news for some Sangguniang Kabataan hopefuls: Candidates who are 25 years old by next year’s SK polls will not be allowed to run.

“Kung sila ay 24 ngayong Disyembre pero 25 na sa susunod na taon o 24 ngayon pero 25 lampas ng isang araw sa mismong araw ng eleksyon sa Oktubre 2023, hindi na po sila pupwedeng tumakbo. Dapat eksaktong 24 na edad niya sa mismong araw ng halalan sa susunod na taon,” Garcia said.

Republic Act No. 11935, signed Oct. 10, postpones the 2022 BSKE to the last Monday of October 2023.

The elections for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan will be held every three years thereafter.

The law said the term of office of elected barangay and SK officials shall start noon on Nov. 30 after their election.