Filipino Absentee Voters Mail Ballots for R.P. Elections

Filipino Absentee Voters Mail Ballots for R.P. Elections

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NEW YORK, NY -- Registered Filipino overseas absentee voters [OAV's] in the U.S. began voting for a new Philippine president via snail mail last Saturday. The 30-day voting period for OAV’s began on April 10 at 8 am and will end on May 10 at exactly 6 am. Consulate officials say this COMELEC-imposed deadline is absolute and will be strictly enforced.

“Ay naku, pag hindi namin natanggap ang mga balota ng alas sais ng umaga ng May 10, hindi na po sila makakaboto [If we don't receive the ballots at exactly 6 am on May 10, they can't vote anymore],” said New York’s Consul General, Cecilia Rebong.

The library at the Philippine Consulate was turned into a temporary hub for all OAV election activities in the New York area. Votes are not being counted yet at this time. Although the Consulate did not release the actual number of ballots they have received so far, Consul Leandro Lachica says they are expecting a bigger turnout this year.

“When it’s a national election involving the President and Vice Presidency, there’s a surge in voters' interest, because we’re electing a new leader of our country,” Lachica said.

Although the OAV is done through mail, the Philippine Consulate in New York remained open Saturday for registered voters who may decide to drop off their ballots in person or claim their undelivered ballots.

Consul Lachica says out of the more than 1,000 undeliverable OAV ballots, there are about 900 still unclaimed ballots. Most of these ballots were returned due to missing or wrong address information.

“The main procedure is for them to claim their ballots personally with us and as long we can verify their identity or the authority of someone claiming in their behalf, then we can also give them the ballots,” Lachica explained.
A complete list of unclaimed and undelivered ballots can be found on the Philippine Consulate’s website and may be claimed only in person after providing proper identifications.

Consulate officials say they are dead serious about the 6 am deadline on May 10 and there will be no exceptions to this COMELEC rule. Registered overseas absentee voters are encouraged to turn in their ballots as soon as they can, before it’s too late to be counted.