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Overseas voter turnout low; Comelec blames snail mail

Blame it on the postal services.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Saturday announced that of the more than 1.3 million registered overseas Filipino workers, only 432,706 participated in the month-long overseas absentee voting (OAV).

Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim, the commissioner in charge of the OAV,  said one of the factors for the low voter turnout was the inefficiency of the postal system in other countries.

Despite the low turnout, Lim said the figure was still “satisfactory” and they were happy with the outcome of the elections.

There were three methods of voting in the OAV—manual personal voting, automated personal voting and postal voting.

Lim said they sent through air mail official ballots to around 30,000 registered voters all over the world, particularly in areas where there were small concentrations of Filipinos.

He, however, said many of the voters did not receive the mailed ballots.

“When we traced them, we were told they were ‘being delivered,’” said Lim. “Mostly kasi electronic mail na ang gamit.”

Lim said all 58 certificates of canvass from 82 Philippine diplomatic outposts—which service over 200 countries—had already reached the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

“All COCs have been admitted for canvass by the NBOC,” he said.

Apart from the inefficiency of the mailing systems, Lim also blamed the Filipinos’ high mobility and the distance of their residences from the embassies and consulates where they cast their votes.

He said many employers also did not allow their Filipino employees to go out to vote.

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