Friday, April 9, 2010

Automated absentee voting in HK, Singapore: This is it

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:54:00 04/10/2010

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Politics, Inquirer Politics, Overseas Employment

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—Will the Philippines’ first automated elections work? The start of the overseas absentee voting today in Hong Kong and Singapore will give us an idea.

“These are the real elections, not mock elections anymore,” said Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco, chair of the overseas absentee voting committee..

While the Commission on Elections is conducting the monthlong overseas absentee voting for more than half a million Filipino voters abroad beginning today, only those in Hong Kong and Singapore will go high-tech and use the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines.

Other Filipino voters in other parts of the planet will have to manually fill out their ballots by writing the names of their preferred candidates on the ballot, under the rules promulgated earlier by the Comelec.

They will personally cast their votes at designated foreign service posts or mail their ballots back to the Philippine embassies or consulates nearest them—the same methods used in elections past.

The Comelec decided to start holding the automated elections in Hong Kong and Singapore because of the high volume of registered voters there—95,355 in Hong Kong and 31,851 in Singapore.

“We will closely monitor [the process]. We will see there if this works or not,” Velasco said at a press briefing conducted on Thursday by the Comelec and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

589,380 absentee voters

The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, known as Republic Act No. 9189, enables Filipino citizens abroad to participate in national elections by allowing them to vote for president, vice president, senators and party-list representatives.

The law applies to Filipino citizens abroad who are at least 18 years old on the day of the election. Qualified citizens register to be overseas absentee voters before the Comelec representative at the Philippine embassy, consulate or other foreign service establishment covering their areas.

Seafarers may vote at any post that has adopted personal voting. For postal voting, they can only vote in posts where there are international seaports identified and recommended by the DFA.

As many as 589,380 Filipinos are participating in the overseas absentee voting, which runs today until May 10.

Embassies and consulates are to be open for voting starting at 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Reports from Leila B. Salaverria and Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research

Original Story:

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