Pinoy absentee voters in Canada now almost 100K

Community News & Features Feb 22, 2019 at 4:17 pm
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez

By Ysh Cabana
The Philippine Reporter

TORONTO–Out of the 1.7 million Filipino overseas absentee voters (OAVs), there are almost 100,000 registered in Canada for the May 13 midterm polls.

In a press conference in January in Manila, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said there is an increase in the number of Filipino OAVs as it reported a total of 1,789,823 registrants. Based on the Certified List of Voters printed on January 11 2019, there are 94,173 land-based OAV in Canada.

The breakdown of number of voters are as follows: Vancouver with 37,590; Calgary with 4,341, Toronto has 44,597 and Ottawa has 7,645. However, these numbers show discrepancies if compared with the National Registry of Voters. Philippine consular matters office under the Embassy of the Philippines in Canada has not responded to this question, as of this writing.

The latest total number of registered OAVs is 77.78 percent higher than the 1.06 million in 2016. Comelec earlier noted most of the applications in the last voter registration period belong to the youth sector. 

“For 2019, we have a total of 783,076 new voters and this is because of the greater interest in electoral system. The perception (of) overseas voters is very relevant, they were reinvigorated and they are very active recently,” he said.

The biggest increase was recorded in the Middle East and Africa, which account for 889,114 of the total OAV population (including the 437,779 new registrants), followed by Asia and the Pacific with 388,619 voters, the Americas with 337,060 and Europe with 175,030.

“But still overall, the area with the most OAV is Middle East and this region has been consistent on this because they have the biggest contingency of Filipinos,” the poll body spokesman said.

Jimenez noted that the increase can be attributed to the poll body’s voter education initiatives, which attracted the active participation of Filipinos abroad.

He added that, unlike in the Philippines where voting will be automated, registered Filipino voters abroad will vote personally at the diplomatic office or through postal service. Those votes will be counted either manually or using a counting machine (AES), depending on the location. 

In Hong Kong and Macau, it will be automated. Meanwhile, Philippine diplomatic posts in the cities of Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, and Toronto in Canada will conduct personal and postal voting.

There are 87 Philippine posts across the globe that will participate in the overseas voting.

Filipinos overseas will be voting for national positions only, particularly 12 senators and one party-list group.

Comelec is eyeing to print more than 61 million ballots from February to April. The one-month voting period for the OAV will be from April 13 until May 13.

The counting of the votes from the country’s posts abroad will be held simultaneously with the local counting on Election Day.

To check the certified list of voters, go: http://www.comelec.govt.ph