Overseas voting registration ends Sept. 30; OFOV conducts online voting test runs


Commissioner Rowena V. Guanzon makes an appeal to Overseas Voters | Screengrab from Facebook

NEW YORK – The Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA OVS) reminds all overseas Filipinos that the deadline to register as overseas voters is on Thursday, Sept 30. All citizens or dual Filipino American citizens, which the law has not disqualified, at least 18 years of age by May 9, 2022, may register as an Overseas Voter and vote for President, Vice-President, Senators, and Party-List Representatives in the upcoming 2022 elections.

The Philippine Consulate in New York said that the registration for overseas voters is continuing until the deadline date. For further information, you may CLICK on this link.

Meanwhile, according to Comelec’s Office of Overseas Voting (OFOV) Director Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, the voter turnout to its second online voting test run had 426 or 63.67 percent of 669 test voters that participated. The initial test drew 348 participants. Smartmatic conducted the test run last weekend (Sept 18 to Sept 20).

The test participants voted from 63 countries. There were 77 that participated from the Philippines; 40 from the United States, 20 in Australia, and 19 in the United Arab Emirates. The higher turnout of voters came from women at 246; the men voters at 180. In this second test run, Smartmatic used Trust Innovation Verifiability Integrity (TIVI).

Voatz, a US-based company, conducted the initial online voting test run from Sept 11 to 13. The third run and last round will be performed by Indra Sistemas this coming weekend (Sept. 25 to Sept. 27). According to the Overseas Voting Act of 2003, the Comelec can explore Internet-based technologies for overseas voting.

In a related development, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco filed House Bill 10261 on Sept 21, seeking the voter registration deadline extension from Sept 30 to Oct 31, 2021.

Velasco said the Comelec must extend the registration period to avoid “massive voter disenfranchisement” due to “extraordinary circumstances” caused by the Covid-10 pandemic.

Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano are co-authors of the measure. They said that “the public health crisis has been prolonged and many prospective voters have been forced to delay their registration this year and in 2020,” the lawmakers said. “At a time of uncertainty, each and every office of the government is tasked to be flexible and alert.”

During a plenary session on Monday, Sept 20, the House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 2231, calling for the extension of the Sept 30 deadline given the health and safety measures and travel restrictions adopted to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Senate also has passed a resolution last week calling for the extension of the registration deadline to Oct 31, 2021. But according to Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, they have yet to discuss the proposals, and the poll body is inclined to maintain the Sept 30 deadline. — Jay Domingo/PDM

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