700,000 OFWs start voting Saturday
MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Elections on Friday said it expected the turnout in the overseas absentee voting (OAV) to more than double this May elections as Filipinos abroad start casting their ballots on Saturday.
Comelec commissioner Elias Yusoph said they expected 60 percent out of the 737,759 registered OAV voters to exercise their right to suffrage after the month-long voting April 13 to May 13.
“The expected turnout is 60 percent. It will be higher,” Yusoph said in an interview.
During the 2010 elections, the Comelec expected a 50 percent turnout out of the 589,830 registered OAV voters. However, only 153,323 or 25.99 percent voted.
“The turnout in 2010 was around 150,000 but we expect it to be higher this year. Now, the whole of America will have postal voting,” said Commissioner Lucenito Tagle.
Overseas voters could cast their votes by using the precinct count optical scan machines that have been delivered to seven areas abroad, or either mail or personally deliver their ballots to Philippine diplomatic posts.
The PCOS machines will be used in Hong Kong, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Dubai, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the start of the OAV voting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia would be delayed.
“The release of the ballot boxes from [Saudi] Customs was delayed but the PCOS machines are okay. So, it will begin there either on April 15 or 16,” he added.
Brillantes is scheduled to fly to Hong Kong last night to personally oversee the OAV voting in the former Crown colony.
According to the Comelec, the region with the highest number of OAV voters was the Middle East (281,372), Asia (228,309), America (125,604), Europe (75,666), and seafarers (26,808).
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