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Comelec Guidelines Gives Hope to Disenfranchised Overseas Voters

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(Image courtesy of Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting Facebook page)

(Image courtesy of Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting Facebook page)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Overseas Filipino who could not find their names in the voters’ lists of Philippine embassies and consulates general abroad may still be able to vote after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) issued new guidelines to address their concerns.

The Philippine Embassy said the Committee on Overseas Voting of the Comelec issued the new guidelines last week in response to reports from Foreign Service posts that some names of applicants for registration or transfer are not included in the list of approved voters.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said the guidelines, issued by Commissioner Lucenito N. Tagle, Chairman of the Committee on Overseas Voting, are intended to avoid possible disenfranchisement of voters, particularly those who applied for registration or transfer last year.

Under the new guidelines, the Comelec said Foreign Service Posts or the applicants themselves should call the Committee on Overseas Voting in Manila at +63-2-522-2251 or +63-2-521-2952 or email comelec_coav@yahoo.comto report the non-inclusion of their names in the approved lists of voters.

Applicants should provide their full name, date of birth and post where application was filed and the time of application to the Committee for verification.

The Comelec said that if upon verification the name of an applicant is found to have been erroneously encoded, he shall be allowed to vote provided that the Foreign Service Post where he will cast his ballot is able to ascertain his identity.

The poll body also said that if an applicant’s name is not in both lists but is included in the list of another post or country and upon verification of encoding error, he shall also be allowed to vote in the post. It added that an applicant shall be allowed to vote even if his name is not in the two forms but his application has been approved.

The Comelec said an applicants shall not be allowed to vote if his application has been denied; if it has not been acted upon; or was transmitted after the deadline set for new registrations or transfers.

The Comelec shall issue the corresponding authority to Post to add the name of the applicant in the two forms and to cross out name of voters erroneously included in the list of other posts. ###

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