Overseas absentee voting starts today

Overseas absentee voting starts today
By Pia Lee-Brago
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas absentee voting (OAV) at 93 Philippine embassies and consulates general around the world starts today as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has urged the 589,830 overseas voters to exercise their right to participate in the 2010 general elections.

The OAV will start at 8 a.m. (designated country time) and will end on May 10 at 6 p.m. (Philippine time).  All votes should be received by the end of the voting period, including the ones sent by mail. Daily voting schedules will be at least eight hours a day, and embassies and consulates general may adopt a flexible schedule to accommodate the most number of voters.

“The overseas Filipinos are our new heroes. Beyond the economic contributions and the sacrifices they do to ensure their families a good life, they are now also given their political right through the OAV. It is time that they exercise the right to vote,” DFA Undersecretary and OAV secretariat chairperson Rafael Seguis said.

DFA-OAVS vice-chair Nestor Padalhin also urged registered overseas Filipino voters to vote, and gave assurance that the DFA-OAVS, in partnership with Commission on Elections Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting, will conduct an honest, orderly and peaceful election this year.

“Our embassies and consulates general are well-prepared to conduct the overseas absentee voting process. Our personnel have undergone a three-day training in Manila last February to prepare them for their duties in this election. There were also similar trainings in Los Angeles, Madrid, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Hong Kong and Singapore to further equip our personnel in the different embassies and consulates general of the knowledge and skills for this electoral exercise,” Seguis added.

There are 589,830 overseas voters for the May 2010 elections, certified by the Resident Election Registration Board of the Comelec.

There are three modes of voting that will be employed in the OAV exercise for this particular election period: Automated mode in Hong Kong and Singapore, personal voting, and postal voting.

The DFA reminded voters using the personal and the automated modes to bring their passports or other personal identification documents to facilitate the process.

Just like in voting precincts in the Philippines, the automated mode will be implemented in Hong Kong and Singapore. Voters will have their names verified against the list of registered voters by the Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI).

Filipino seafarers who are registered overseas absentee voters may personally vote at the embassy or consulate general where they are currently docked. If the area where they are docked is implementing the postal method, there should be an identified international seaport under its jurisdiction.

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.