In a little more than a month, the Philippines will have its midterm elections. Now, regardless of your political beliefs, we can all agree that voting is crucial to maintaining a democracy, yes?
For those of us who live here, the process is pretty straightforward. Registered voters simply show up at the precincts, look up their names, and then fill out a ballot.
But how about if you work and live overseas?
Granted, the process is still quite confusing, though there are some guidelines in place. Read on and check out how you can exercise your voting rights next month:
How Do You Qualify As An Overseas Voter?
As per Republic Act No. 9189 (“The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003”), all Filipino citizens residing abroad may vote as long as they meet the following criteria:
- At least 18 years of age on election day;
- A registered overseas voter;
- Not otherwise disqualified by law.
How Do You Register for Absentee Voting?
You may file for voter registration at the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate General. There are also akyat-barko initiatives for sea-based migrants. Do note that the registration period for this year’s elections elapsed last December, however.
Also, all overseas absentee voters registered with the Philippine Embassy in Canberra should inform the latter if they recently changed their mailing address. They should send in the following to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 10 April 2019:
- Complete new mailing address;
- Copy of valid Philippine passport for Filipino citizens;
- Copy of Identification Certificate (IC) for dual citizens.
I’ll Be Visiting the Philippines During the Elections. Can I Vote There Instead?
Not if you already registered as an absentee voter elsewhere, no.
Which Positions Can Overseas Voters Cast Ballots For?
Overseas Absentee Voters (OAV’s) may vote for the following national positions:
- Party-list Representatives.
When Is the Voting Period?
OAV’s may cast their votes from 13 April to 13 May 2019.
How Do I Vote?
There are two methods for absentee voting. One is through personal voting, where you proceed to the designated Philippine foreign service post. There, they verify your identity via biometrics and then present you with a ballot if you pass muster. The voting procedure would then proceed as usual afterwards.
If you live too far away from the Philippine Consulate, you can opt for the postal manual election system. This where the authorities mail the ballots over to you. After filling it in, you mail it back to the polling center address on the envelope. Read more about it here.
A lot of migrant workers haven’t been home in years, perhaps even decades. Some of them might wonder why they should vote at all, considering that they won’t be coming back for a while.
And yet, if coming home for good is one of your ultimate goals, you automatically have a stake in the upcoming election’s outcome. Selecting the next group of leaders will always shape a country’s future, so make sure you take part in every opportunity to do so.