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OFW Guide to Voting in May 2019 Elections

Many Filipinos participate in local and national elections to vote for the leaders of their communities, as well as of the entire country. The great thing about it is that even if you are outside the Philippines, you can still join through Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV).

The upcoming Midterm Elections is no exception. From April 13 to May 13, 2019, Filipinos abroad can cast their votes for national positions — twelve (12) senators and one (1) party-list organization. If one of these overseas voters is you, keep on reading to learn how it’s done!

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How to Vote in the 2019 Midterm Elections

Registered Filipino voters abroad will have different modes of voting during the 2019 Midterm Elections: vote count machine (VCM), manual (personal), or postal voting — depending on the host country where they are located, the Philippine News Agency reported.

Vote Count Machine (VCM)

Voting through VCM will be conducted in 41 locations, as follows: Abu Dhabi, Agana, Al-Khobar, Athens, Beirut, Brunei, Calgary, Canberra, Chicago, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Kaohsiung, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Macau, Manama, Milan, Muscat, New York, Osaka, Ottawa, Riyadh, Rome, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Taichung, Taipei, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, and Wellington.

If you are planning to vote through this mode, here are the steps:

  1. Go to the Consulate, Embassy, or Post designated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in your host country.
  2. You will be given a ballot, secrecy folder, and pen.
  3. Proceed to a booth and cast your vote by shading the ovals beside the names of your preferred candidates and party-list organization.
  4. Submit your ballot to the Special Board of Elections Inspectors (SBEIs).
  5. Insert your ballot into the VCM and wait for a receipt to be issued.
  6. Drop your receipt into the designated box.

Manual (Personal) Voting

As the term suggests, this kind of voting is done manually — in person — without any machines. It will be conducted in these locations: Amman, Dhaka, Dili, Jakarta, Manado, Nairobi, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, Shanghai, Tehran, Vientiane, Xiamen, and the Vatican.

The procedure for manual voting goes like this:

  1. Go to the Consulate, Embassy, or Post designated by COMELEC in your host country.
  2. Affix your thumb mark in the List of Overseas Voters with Voting Records.
  3. You will be given a ballot, secrecy folder, and pen.
  4. Proceed to a booth and cast your vote by shading the ovals beside the names of your preferred candidates and party-list organization.
  5. Submit your ballot to the Poll Clerk and place it inside the ballot box.
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Image Credit: COMELEC Website

Postal Voting

As the term implies, postal voting is done via mail. This kind of voting will be done in these locations: Abuja, Ankara, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Berne, Brasilia, Brussels, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Chongqing, Geneva, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Islamabad, Lisbon, Mexico, Moscow, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Port Moresby, Pretoria, Santiago, the Hague, Vienna, Warsaw, and Yangon.

The procedure for postal voting is as follows:

  1. You will receive through mail an envelope containing a ballot, Certified List of Candidates, official Ballot Envelope, paper seal, and instructions to voters.
  2. Using the ballot, cast your vote by shading the ovals beside the names of your preferred candidates and party-list organization.
  3. Place your ballot inside the Ballot Envelope.
  4. Write your name and affix your signature on the space provided in the Ballot Envelope, then seal it with the paper seal provided.
  5. Mail your Ballot Envelope to the Post designated by COMELEC in your host country.

Additional Reminders

  • Make sure that you cast your votes within the designated period (April 13 to May 13, 2019).
  • For those under postal voting, make sure that your ballot is received by the designated Post on or before May 13, 2019 at 6 pm (Manila Time).
  • Seafarers can vote at any Post conducting manual (personal) voting. They can also opt for postal voting through any Post with international seaports — provided that this has been recommended by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS).

After the Voting Period

After the voting period, counting and canvassing of votes come next. These will be done in the Consulate, Embassy, or Post designated by COMELEC in your host country — conducted simultaneously with the counting of votes in the Philippines.

Here’s how it goes: The Chairperson of the SBEI reads the names of the candidates and party-list organization that each voter cast. At the same time, the Poll Clerk accomplishes the Election Returns, while a Third Member updates the Tally Board.

Once the counting is finished, the Chairperson announces the total number of votes received by each candidate and party-list organization. Results are then transmitted to the Special Board of Canvassers (SBOC), which will consolidate and canvass the votes.

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Whether you are residing in the Philippines or overseas, you can participate in the upcoming Midterm Elections. Of course, before anything else, you will need to decide whom to vote for… so be sure to check out this List of Senator & Party List Candidates for May 2019 Elections!

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