2022 Philippine Elections

Comelec postpones overseas voting in coronavirus-hit Shanghai

Dwight de Leon
Comelec postpones overseas voting in coronavirus-hit Shanghai

LOCKDOWN. A man uses a mobile phone while leaning on a scooter in front of barricades of a sealed-off area, following the COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, China, on March 30, 2022.

Aly Song/Reuters

Shanghai is grappling with a coronavirus-driven hard lockdown. The Comelec says overseas voting for 1,600 registered Filipinos there will push through once restrictions ease.

MANILA, Philippines – Over 1,600 Filipinos eligible to cast their ballots in Shanghai when overseas absentee voting for the 2022 Philippine elections begins on Sunday, April 10, will have to wait a little longer after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) postponed voting in the city.

Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said the Comelec en banc made the decision as it took into consideration the total lockdown in China’s biggest city, which was triggered by a coronavirus outbreak.

Shanghai logged a record 16,766 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and 311 new symptomatic infections on Tuesday, April 5.

“Once the lockdown is lifted, we will proceed with the voting in Shanghai,” Casquejo said in a press conference.

The mode of overseas absentee voting in Shanghai is personal, which means that registered Filipinos cannot cast their ballots via mail, unlike in other countries. The mode of counting ballots there is also manual, not automated.

Meanwhile, the Comelec is eyeing a suspension of overseas voting in other conflict areas, affecting a total of 127 voters across Iraq, Algeria, Chad, Tunisia, Libya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.

“The Comelec office for overseas voting is still waiting for formal confirmation from the Department of Foreign Affairs-Overseas Voting Secretariat as to the posts’ capacity to conduct overseas voting for the active registered overseas voters,” an April 6 Comelec-Office for Overseas Voting memorandum read.

The 2022 elections, a vote that will determine President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor, is scheduled on May 9, but overseas Filipinos traditionally begin voting around a month ahead.

Nearly 1.7 million Filipinos overseas are eligible to vote in this year’s elections. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.