Pinoys flock to NY consulate to vote

by Don Tagala, ABS CBN North America Bureau

Posted at May 11 2013 11:19 AM | Updated as of May 11 2013 07:19 PM

WASHINGTON DC / NEW YORK – As the Philippine envoy to the US cast his absentee ballot in Washington DC, Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. said it’s all systems go for Monday’s midterm elections’ overseas absentee voting at the Philippine embassy and in Philippine Consulates around the US.

“I urge my kababayans, Filipinos and Filipino-Americans qualified to vote for the May 13 elections to cast their votes right away and not later than 6:59 AM of May 13 since we will start counting the votes by 7 AM,” Cuisia said.

In New York, with only two days left to cast their votes, overseas absentee voters are personally handing in their ballots at the Philippine Consulate to make the deadline.

Absentee voter Robby Manubay who just cast his vote said the voting process is fairly easy.

“Everything is properly arranged. The process is well-explained so everyone should be able to go to the consulate and cast their votes. It’s that simple and it’s fast,” he said.

“They should really vote for candidates who they think would really do something good for the country and for its people,” said another voter Jocelyn Morales.

According to the Commission on Elections' certified list of overseas voters, there are 13,253 registered overseas absentee voters under the Philippine Consulate of New York’s jurisdiction.

Deputy Consul General Tess Dizon-de Vega said they have received a total of 2,110 ballots cast as of Thursday afternoon. This PCG NY list also shows that as of May 7, 2013, there are 1,363 undelivered voting packets due to “insufficient address.”

Dizon-De Vega said that registered absentee voters whose names appear on the COMELEC’s certified list but have not received their ballots by mail can still come to consulate to cast their votes over the weekend.

“Please check, you can go to the website of the Philippine Consulate New York (http://www.newyorkpcg.org/). If you find your name on the list of registered voters, go to our consular office with your passport for identification purposes. It’s not too late. We are here on Saturday and Sunday and you can deliver your ballots personally,” Dizon-De Vega said.

An instructional step-by-step video guide on how to vote in the Philippine elections via overseas absentee voting is available at the New York PCG website and on their official Facebook page.

“Follow every step so your ballot will not be invalidated,” said Dizon-De Vega.

Dizon-de Vega said the Consulate General is inviting the public to observe the Philippine electoral process by coming to the Consulate on Monday morning — to personally witness the canvassing of votes after the polls officially close at 7 a.m.

There are 737,759 registered Filipino overseas absentee voters around the world. Reports say about 60% of whom are expected to cast their votes by election day, Monday.

A huge overseas voter turnout may even decide the outcome of the senatorial elections but past elections statistics show otherwise as only 26% of registered overseas voters exercised their right of suffrage in the 2010 elections.