Overseas Absentee Voting
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Finally after waiting for this very important announcement, the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting, issued a notice informing Filipinos overseas about the registration for participation in the elections in 2016.

Under Republic Act Number 9198, otherwise known as “ The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003,” as amended by Republic Act No. 10590, citizens of the Philippines living abroad, who are not disqualified by law for some reasons, at least 18 years of age on the day of the election, and who are registered as overseas voters, may vote for President, Vice-President, Senators and party-list representatives.

The Comelec notice stated that all qualified Filipino citizens not registered as voters under Republic Act Number 8189, otherwise known as the “Voters Registration Act of 1996” (which provides for a system of continuing registration) shall file an application for  registration. Those who are already registered under the said law are required to file an application for certification.

For the May 9, 2016 elections, the period for the filing of applications for registration or certification is from May 6, 2014 to October 31, 2015 (Philippine time).

I hope that the filing of applications for registration or certification can be done on line. This would spare Filipinos in Michigan and other states in the Midwest from the trouble of travelling to Chicago to file their applications with the Philippine consulate there.

I believe the widest publicity of this matter is needed so that all eligible voters could find time in their busy schedule to travel to Chicago.

Requests for transfer of registration records may be filed with the concerned Philippine posts or with the Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) of the Comelec during the registration period.

The 30-day voting period will commence on April 9, 2016 (Philippine time) and will end at 3 p.m. on May 9, 2016 (Philippine time). The voting will take place the Philippine Embassy or Consulate having jurisdiction over the place where the overseas voter is registered.

In the case of oversea voters in Michigan, voting place will be at the Philippine Consulate in Chicago.

For more details, Filipinos may call Vice Consul Mary Joy Ramirez at telephone 1-213-637-3011 or visit website, www.philippineconsulatela.org.