Explain low overseas voter turnout, envoys told | Global News

Explain low overseas voter turnout, envoys told

/ 01:15 AM April 19, 2016

Undersecretary Rafael Seguis. AFP file photo

Undersecretary Rafael Seguis. AFP file photo

FOREIGN Undersecretary Rafael Seguis on Monday asked ambassadors and consuls general to explain “the decimal and even zero voter turnout” in their jurisdictions of overseas absentee voters, of whom only 87,601, or less than 10 percent, of the 1.37 million registered voters had cast ballots.

In a memorandum, a copy of which was furnished to the Inquirer, Seguis said some foreign service posts had not submitted their reports from April 9 to April 18 while others had decimal and even zero voter turnout.


“Effective immediately, all heads of posts are instructed to lead by example—by voting first along with the officers and personnel down to their dependents and family members,” said Seguis, who chairs the Overseas Voting Secretariat of the Department of Foreign Affairs.


“I’m not as optimistic as I want to be. We have 21 days to May 9 and yet we have to see that at least 20 percent of registered overseas voters cast their ballots,” Seguis told the Inquirer.


Utilize social media

Seguis said the ambassadors and consuls general should encourage Filipino community organizations in regular gatherings to get their members to vote.

Heads of posts should use social media to encourage Filipinos to cast their votes, he also said.

Ambassador to China Erlinda Basilio led officials and staff in casting ballots on the first day of voting on April 9.


Basilio said the embassy was conducting postal voting, in which ballots are either mailed to the voters or to the embassy address for pickup by the voters.

DFA records show that Filipinos in Arab countries and Africa have cast the most number of votes at 43,749. But the number remains low compared to the 593,772 total registered voters on those continents.

While there are 344,848 voters in the Asia Pacific, the number of Filipinos who cast their ballots since April 9 was only 34,382. Hong Kong had the highest number of ballots cast at 14,200, surpassing Singapore with an 11,471 voter turnout.

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Filipinos in Europe and the Americas turned out the least, with 7,826 and 1,644 voters, respectively.

TAGS: Elections 2016, Features, Global Nation, Rafael Seguis

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