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Overseas absentee voting starts April 10—Comelec

Posted on: April 9, 2010

Overseas absentee voting starts April 10—Comelec
By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net First Posted 14:45:00 04/08/2010 Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Elections, Overseas Employment

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos abroad can start voting for nationally elected candidates here on April 10 until May 10 when the country holds the first automated polls, an official of the Commission on Elections said Thursday.

The Comelec and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will coordinate for the overseas absentee voting (OAV) and the first automated OAV in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Absentee voters can only vote for president, vice president, senator and partylist to be written on the OAV ballot form measuring 14 by 4.5 inches, said Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco, concurrent head of the committee on OAV during the joint congressional committee meeting on automated elections.

Absentee voters may cast their ballots from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (the time of the host country) on April 10. For the succeeding days, however, voting will start at 8 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. (Philippine time). Foreign posts may adopt a flexible eight-hour schedule, according to an OAV resolution.

There are 589,830 overseas absentee voters, including 224, 884 new OAV registrants who enlisted between February and August, said Velasco.

Comelec has started sealing of the 33 poll machines to be used for the pilot automated polls in Hong Kong and Singapore, which recorded the highest registration of absentee voters at 95,355and 31,853, respectively.

“The combined voters in Hong Kong and Singapore are equal to 21 percent of the total overseas voters,” said Velasco.

Another 140,832 Filipinos abroad in 47 countries will vote by mail. They were sent official ballots and other election paraphernalia in mailing packets, which should be filled up by the voter upon receipt and returned to the post of the country where they would be canvassed, said Velasco.

For the rest of the half a million OAVs who would cast their votes in person, they must present a valid passport or identification with name, signature, and photograph to the special board of election inspectors (SBEIs).

In the absence of IDs, a voter will be asked to take an oath on his identity in the presence of an SBEI member. If a voter fails to prove his identity, he will not be allowed to vote.

Foreign Affairs undersecretary Rafael Seguis said personnel from 93 Philippine consulate offices abroad were ready to handle the three modes of voting for this year’s OAV: the pilot automated polls in Hong Kong and Singapore, voting by mail, and voting in person.

Seguis also urged absentee voters in Hong Kong to proceed to Bayanihan centers on weekdays to avoid long lines for voting on Sundays.

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