Comelec sees overseas absentee voting turnout to surpass previous numbers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 6) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said overseas voting turnout for this year’s elections may exceed that of 2016’s as 23% of over 1.69 million Filipino voters abroad -- or 385,437 registered voters -- have so far cast their ballots.

“With this trend malamang malalampasan natin yung 2016 voting turnout which is 32%,” Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said in a briefing. “Dito nasa 23% na tayo and hindi pa accurate, di pa kumpleto yung data natin.”

[Translation: With this trend we might exceed 2016 voting turnout which is 32%. We are currently at 23% and it is still not accurate, data is not yet complete.]

Casquejo attributed the increase to a vote anywhere policy, where voters can head to any Philippine embassy or consulate as long as that site caters to walk-in voters.

Overseas absentee voting started on April 10 and will end on May 9. However, some overseas Filipinos are still facing problems, like those in Cyprus who have complained about not yet receiving their mailed ballots.

The Comelec suggested they go to the Philippine diplomatic post to be able to vote.

For Filipinos in Shanghai, the poll body is eyeing a one-day special voting period in case the area remains under strict COVID-19 lockdown beyond Election Day.

The Comelec also expressed confidence that the May 9 polls will proceed smoothly, with all 65.7million official ballots deployed to local hubs and 106,174 vote counting machines brought to precincts as of Thursday.

CNN Philippines’ Melissa Lopez contributed to this report.