Change in distribution of ballots worries PH post in Canada

Marieton Pacheco, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Mar 29 2016 05:53 PM

VANCOUVER - Philippine consulate officials worry about a possible disenfranchisement of overseas voters in Canada as they await clarification from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on a change in the distribution of ballots. 

Election materials for the May polls are here but unlike past elections, consulate officials can't send ballots to registered voters just yet.

Kababayans need to notify them first if they want their ballots mailed thru a request form made available at the consulate's website and office.

With both automated elections and modified postal voting happening across North America this year, registered overseas voters have the option to either vote in person or by mail like in past elections.

"We are seeking updates para they won't need to inform us and we will just send the ballot to them. But at the moment, that is the instruction we got, that's why we published it in our website not just in Vancouver but other foreign service establishment na nag-adopt ng mail voting, ngayon kasi parang mixed e," said Consul General Neil Frank Ferrer.

It's something many voters haven't even heard of despite the embassy and consulate's announcement on their website.

It's making officials worried about the possible disenfranchisement among absentee voters, especially those just waiting for their ballots in the mail.

"That's also our concern. Mas maaga pa lang makarating na word sa ating mga kababayan na kailangan nila tayong i-notify and also once we receive advise from Comelec, automatically we can send the ballots," Ferrer said.

More than 33,000 overseas voters have registered in Vancouver for the coming May elections, the highest overseas voter registration in Canada.

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