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Pinoys in 26 countries snub absentee voting

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino voters in 26 countries have snubbed this year’s mid-term elections by not voting during the month-long Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV), the Commission on Elections (Comelec), sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), disclosed yesterday.

During the canvassing, Comelec Commissioner Elias Yusoph has announced that “there were no voters” in 26 countries.  OAV covers only the senatorial race and the party-list system.

There are only 710 registered voters in the 26 countries that were covered by postal voting.

These are Columbia (6 voters), Netherlands (5), Suriname (5), Venezuela (350), Costa Rica (4), El Salvador (4), Honduras (14), Dominican Republic (22), Panama (7), Ecuador (5), Peru (8), Bulgaria (2), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2), Estonia (1), Latvia (1), Burundi (1), Congo (128), Madagascar (223), Malawi (2), Mauritius (6), Rwanda (1), Somalia (1), Eritrea (28), Djibouti (43), Zambia (241), and Macedonia (10).

According to lawyer Jane Valeza, vice chairman of the Comelec-Committee on OAV (COAV), the geographical location of these countries was the primary reason why voters there were not able to cast their votes.

Valeza said there are no Philippine embassy or consular offices in these countries and they are mostly “thousands of miles” away from the Philippine posts where they are supposed to send their postal ballots.

She noted the cost of mailing the ballots could also be a reason why the voters did not participate in the elections. 

The Comelec started sending the ballots to the voters as early as February.

Valeza added that many of the voters could also not be located anymore in their registered address as they did not update their voter’s registration records.

This as Comelec Commissioner and COAV chair Lucenito Tagle said that the voter’s turn out for OAV was low. 

“Only around 150,000 voters cast their votes. This could actually be expected because this is only mid-term elections, not presidential, voters are not that interested,” Tagle added.

Comelec record showed there are 737,759 registered overseas voters from some 227 Philippine posts around the world. 

Comelec records showed that 281,372 overseas absentee voters are in the Middle East, 228,309 in Asia, 125,604 in the US, 75,666 in Europe, and 26,808 are seafarers.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA COMELEC COMELEC COMMISSIONER COMELEC COMMISSIONER ELIAS YUSOPH COSTA RICA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC EL SALVADOR JANE VALEZA LUCENITO TAGLE VOTERS
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