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Possible automated vote for Singapore, HK

Posted on: February 4, 2010

Possible automated vote for Singapore, HK
By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net First Posted 10:27:00 02/04/2010 Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Overseas Employment, Overseas Absentee Voting

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections is still studying the possibility of automated voting for Filipinos in Singapore and Hong Kong, Commissioner Armando Velasco said.

Velasco, chairman of the Comelec committee on overseas absentee voting, said he is set to meet with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the supplier Smartmatic-TIM to discuss if automated polls may be held in these two places where there are huge numbers of overseas Filipino workers. The registered overseas absentee voters (OAVs) in Hong Kong is 95,355; in Singapore, 31,851.

Specifically, they would discuss if the needed 30 poll machines and ballot boxes may be made available to these posts by April 10, the start of casting of votes for Filipinos abroad, he said.

If this is not possible, Velasco said the voting would be in person, not by mail, as it would be more convenient for all concerned.

To cast votes in person, OAVs must present to the special board of election inspectors (SBEIs) a valid passport or any identification with name, signature, and photograph. In the absence of identification documents, a voter can be identified through oath by any SBEI member. If a voter fails to prove his identity, he would not be allowed to vote.

OAVs are given 30 days to vote, starting 8 a.m. of April 10 to 6 p.m. of May 10, Philippine time. Except for April 10 when posts are required to open at 8 a.m., local time at the host country, the posts may adopt a flexible schedule of eight voting hours for other days, said Velasco.

On May 10, the special board of election inspectors (BEIs) should allow voters who have lined up within 30 meters in front of the polling place to vote without interruption. Names of these voters would be listed and called for their turn to cast their vote.

Velasco urged all 580,000 OAVs to vote early and avoid long queues at Philippine diplomatic posts toward the end of the voting period.

“Let us not waste our opportunity to choose our leaders,” he said.

OAVs may only vote for national positions of president, vice president, 12 senators, and one party-list group, he said.

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