THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Friday, April 11, that it is ready to conduct the overseas voting for the May midterm polls as the month-long activity is set to begin Saturday, April 13.
Comelec-Office for Overseas Voting (Ofov) Director Elaiza David said they are fully ready to begin with the month-long voting period in different Philippine embassies and posts.
“I can say that we are 99 percent ready. There is no such thing as perfect 100 percent. So 99 percent,” said David.
“We are ready for the conduct of elections already. We are all set for this April 13 start of elections,” he added.
The Comelec said a total of 41 out of the 83 countries/posts will be using the vote counting machines (VCM).
Posts set to use the automated electoral system (AES) are Agana, Calgary, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Ottawa, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Brunei, Canberra, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Wellington.
Also using the VCMs are the posts in Athens, London, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Al-Khobar, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv.
Filipinos abroad within the jurisdictions of 42 countries/posts shall be using the manual system of voting, which is either through postal or personal voting.
Postal voting will be used in 29 posts, namely, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Santiago, Bangkok, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Islamabad, Port Moresby, Yangon, Ankara, Berlin, Berne, Brussels, Budapest, Geneva, Lisbon, Moscow, Oslo, Paris, Prague, The Hague, Vienna, Warsaw, Abuja, Cairo, and Pretoria.
Personal voting, meanwhile, will be tapped in 13 posts, specifically in Dhaka, Dili, Jakarta, Manado, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, Shanghai, Vientiane, Xiamen, Vatican, Amman, Nairobi, and Tehran.
David said they are hopeful that they will be higher than the usual voter turnout during midterm elections.
“Hopefully, our turnout will be higher than 16 percent, somewhere in the 25 percent,” said David.
In the last two midterm polls (2007 and 2013), the voter turnout were both at 16 percent, based on the data of the Comelec-Ofov.
The numbers are comparatively lower when compared to the presidential elections after the 2004 (64 percent), 2010 (26 percent), and 2016 (31 percent) drew higher turnouts.
For the 2019 polls, there are a total of 1,822,173 overseas voters, according to the Comelec-Ofov data.
Majority of the registered overseas voters are land-based workers with 1,779,140, while sea-based workers totaled 43,033.
In terms of geographical locations, the Middle East and African Region had the highest number with 887,744, followed by the Asia Pacific Region with 401,390, North and Latin American Region with 345,415, and European Region with 187,624.
The overseas voting period will run from April 13 to May 13.
In a related development, the Comelec announced that there will be no overseas voting in three Philippine posts.
The three are Damascus in Syria, Tripoli in Libya, and Baghdad in Iraq.
“These three won’t have elections because of prevailing local conditions,” said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez in an interview.
He noted that they do not expect the respective local conditions to be resolved anytime soon.
“We don’t see elections happening there in the immediate foreseeable future,” said Jimenez. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)