Absentee voters can turn election tide: Comelec

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MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is positive that overseas absentee voters will play a huge role in the outcome of the 2016 elections.

Highlighting the power of absentee voters, Comelec chairman, Atty. Andres Bautista cited that overseas votes helped boost former US President George Bush's chances against Al Gore in the elections.

"Kung talagang tight ang laban, talagang they can make a difference," Bautista said in an interview with radio dzMM Friday.

Bautista said around 1.3 to 1.4 million Filipinos have signed up as absentee voters for the May polls. This is twice the number of absentee voters in 2013, he added.

But he admitted that the challenge is to make these absentee voters to really vote.

Comelec records showed that overseas absentee voters' turnout in the 2007 and 2013 midterm polls were both 16 percent.

Records also showed that during the 2004 and 2010 presidential elections, 65 and 26 percent of registered absentee voters actually cast their votes, respectively.

Bautisata said absentee voters have one month to cast their votes at Philippine posts, from April 9 to May 9.

Absentee voters, who live far from embassies, also have the option of postal voting.