Initial voter turnout in Philippine overseas voting very low

Ten days had passed since the voting for overseas Filipinos began on April 9 and yet only  about 96,000 overseas voters out of a registered 1.386 million, have cast their vote. That means only around 7 per cent have trooped to the embassies or COMELEC designated areas in their host countries to vote for their preferred candidates.

Foreign Undersecretary Rafael Seguis want ambassadors and consul generals to explain the dismal turnout of voters in their jurisdictions. He noted in a memo, which Inquirer got hold of, that some areas had zero or decimal voter turnout.

(Image Credit: Aksyon TV)

Seguis wants the foreign service officers to encourage Filipinos abroad to vote, by linking with Filipino community organizations and by using the power of social media.

So far, in terms of the highest number of raw votes, Filipinos from the Middle East and Africa region led overseas voting with 43,749 votes. But still, that's only about 7.4% of the total number of Filipino voters in those areas.

In terms of percentage, Filipino overseas voters from the Asia  Pacific region had the highest turnout at almost 10% or 34000+ out of a total 344,848 voters.

COMELEC is targeting an 80 per cent voter turnout among Filipinos overseas. Commissioner Arthur Lim, who heads the Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) is confident that the voting will increase in the following weeks.

A total of 30 days have been alloted for overseas voting, and Filipinos abroad have until May 9 to vote.

In an election where poll surveys show that candidates are apart by only a few percentage points from each other, getting votes from the almost 1.4 million overseas voters will make a big difference.

The Philippines has around 54.4 million registered voters for the 2016 national elections. Voter turnout in 2013 was only pegged at almost 76 per cent.
Got a comment? Drop us a tweet to @Buzzerdaily