PH embassy urges US Filipinos to register for 2016 elections
MANILA, Philippines – As early as now, Filipinos in the United States are being urged to register for the 2016 election. “I urge our kababayans to exercise their right to vote by registering as overseas voters at the embassy or consulate,” Philippine ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia said in a press statement. (READ: Overseas in 2016? Vote abroad, says Comelec)
Ray Gonzales, who is originally from Pampanga, was among the first Pinoys in the US who registered to vote. “I want to register and participate in the upcoming elections so that my vote can help the right candidate win,” he said. Gonzales added, “I hope that the winning candidate can give better opportunities for my fellow Filipinos in the Philippines.”
The registration process isn’t as difficult as it seems. Minister and Consul Emil Fernandez, who heads the voters registration team, said the process is "seamless" and only requires one to have his/her photo taken and take the registrants biometrics.
The registration period is from May 6, 2014 until October 2015. According to the Commission on Elections, about 138,989 registered Overseas Absentee Voters (OAVs) are in the Americas. Los Angeles, USA, has the eigth highest number of overseas voters worldwide at 31,348 voters registered in 2013. (READ: Where the overseas voters are)
Despite efforts to increase the number of overseas voters by Comelec, the DFA and the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, turnout continues to be low.
Of the 737,759 registered OAVs, only 113,209 actually cast their ballots, Philippine Senator Frank Drilon said after the 2013 mid-term elections. This was far below Comelec’s predicted 60% participation rate – at 15%. (READ: Drilon to DFA, Comelec: Explain low overseas votes)
In the 2010 presidential elections, only 26% of registered OAVs actually voted. The Overseas Absentee Voter Act was approved by Philippine Congress on Feb. 13, 2003. It allows Filipino citizens abroad to vote for national positions in Philippine elections through the embassies and consulates in their host countries
The actual 30-day voting period for overseas begins on April 9, 2016 until election day on May 9, 2016. – Rappler.com