Comelec en banc allows canvassing of votes from China pending Shanghai polls

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 16) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has permitted the transmission of votes from Filipinos in China while those in Shanghai remain unable to cast ballots amid tight pandemic restrictions.

The seven-member body on May 15 resolved to approve Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) director Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada’s request to modify their resolution allowing the Hong Kong Special Board of Canvassers (SBOC) to generate a canvass report.

The en banc also okayed the OFOV official’s plea to provide instructions to the SBOC at the Hong Kong Philippine Consulate General that in lieu of the canvass report, that they manually encode as zero Shanghai’s election results to allow the transmission of returns from other covered areas.

There are 113,399 total registered voters for all posts in China. Shanghai - which accounts for 1,991 of these - still cannot hold in-person voting as strict lockdown rules remain.

“There is also no definite date as to when lockdown measures will be relaxed, which makes it difficult to determine whether and when overseas voting can be held in Shanghai in the near future,” noted Wee-Lozada in her memorandum to Comelec.

The Comelec stressed its resolution is “without prejudice” to future decisions on Shanghai’s overseas voting.