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HISTORIC FIRST Comelec allows over 75,000 overseas Filipinos to vote by mail

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MANILA — This year’s absentee voting for overseas Filipinos will be a historic one, at least for over 75,000 voters in several countries.
This after the Commission on Elections decided to allow these Filipinos living and working abroad who are registered voters to use postal voting in the May 2016 elections.
Voting by mail, however, does not cover Filipino voters in the United States where the practice is popular, and other countries.
This will be a historic first and hopefully could be expanded to cover all overseas Filipino voters in future elections as this is provided for under Republic Act 9189 or the Overseas Absentee Voting Act which was enacted by Congress and signed into law by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2003, said professor, journalist, Philippines Today editor in chief and book author Alfred G. Gabot, author of the book “Empowering Filipinos Overseas – The Absentee Voting Law” which had a foreword by then Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye and messages from President Arroyo and former Ambassador and Congressman Gualberto B. Lumauig.
Based on Comelec data, a total of 75,363 voters will be using postal voting, where the 26 embassies or post from three regions will send ballots to voters through mail. Voters will have to fill it up the ballots and send it back to the sender before the deadline.
The posts includes: Lisbon (European Region); Bangkok, Brunei, Chongqing, Dhaka, Dili, Guangzou, Islamabad, Jakarta, Macau, Manado, Meco Kaohsiung, Meco Taichung, Meco Taipei, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, Shanghai, Vientiane and Xiamen (Asia Pacific Region); Abuja, Amman, Cairo, Muscat, Nairobi, Pretoria and Tehran (Middle East and African Region).
On the other hand, a total of 1.1 million voters for the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) from 30 posts in regions such as North and Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Middle East will adopt automated election system by using the Voter Counting Machines (VCM).
The OAV voters will only be voting for the following positions, President, Vice President, Senators and a Party-List group.
The voting will start on April 9 until May 9, 2016. The posts will be closed at 3 p.m. (Philippine Time).
Counting of the votes will be conducted after the posts have closed

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