The May 2016 Presidential elections may be the first to have over a million active registered overseas voters.
This is if the current phase of registration continues.
On August 19, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Overseas Voting Secretariat (OVS) announced that overseas voters (OV) registration already reached a total 600,823 new OV registrants.
And there are less than two months to go before the October 31 deadline for voter registration.
The biggest number of new OV registrants that the Foreign Service Posts (FSPs) processed came from the Middle East and Africa with 249,512 followed by 123,993 from the Americas; 68,124 from the Europe; and 91,088 from Asia and the Pacific; while the Overseas Voter Registration Centers (OVRCs) in the Philippines contributed 68,106.
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Andres Bautista lauded the effort of the DFA-OVS and all the Philippine Embassies in their aggressive campaign to increase the number of registered Overseas Filipino Voters.
“I sincerely appreciate the initiatives to put up overseas registration centers in the country as well as in our Embassies. I also commend the Embassies for including the overseas voting registration in their mobile consular services,” the poll chief was quoted in a statement.
Bautista asked voters not to wait for the last minute before registering.
“We would like to appeal to all of you…please don’t wait until the last minute,” he said.
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez also reminded overseas voters who want to become regular voters that they only have up to October 12 to file their application for transfer.
“That is a very important distinction because they might think that the deadline for that is also October 31. The deadline for the transfer from the overseas absentee voters list to the local list is October 12. It is not forever,” he said.
All Filipino citizens who expect to be abroad during the 30-day overseas voting period from April 9 to May 9 for the 2016 Presidential Elections, at least 18 years old on May 9, 2016, and not otherwise disqualified by law, may personally register as an overseas voter at all FSPs, including the three Manila Economic and Cultural Offices (MECO), 15 OVRCs in the Philippines and at other COMELEC-approved field/mobile registration centers.
Overseas Filipinos in the Asia Pacific (except China and Taiwan), Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa region may also go to irehistro.comelec.gov.ph/ov to access the iREHISTRO online system to register as an overseas voter.
The iREHISTRO online system provides another way of accomplishing forms for voter registration-related process. The optional appointment feature of the system allows for better time management since it provides the person an easy way to schedule their personal appearance at the Embassy, Consulate, Mission or mobile/field registration site.
However, iREHISTRO applicants still need to appear personally at FSPs or mobile/field registration sites, to sign and submit their duly accomplished printed form, and for biometrics capturing. In addition, the processed applications still have to be approved by the Resident Election Registration Board (RERB).