MANILA — The Commission on Elections is expecting a "higher" turnout for overseas voting in this year's polls, one of its commissioners said Thursday.
"Our overseas voting right now is very much interesting because you know in the first day there's so many overseas voters who want to vote," Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo told ANC's "Rundown".
"So, we are expecting a much higher voting turnout as compared in 2016 and 2019 elections."
Data from Comelec showed there are about 1.7 million Filipinos living abroad who were registered in the 2022 polls.
According to Casquejo, the current number of voters who turned up to cast their ballots has already surpassed their target.
"Sa ngayon, for this early time period of voting, we have already reached our target, which is more than 30 percent," he said.
Overseas voting began on April 10 and will run until Election Day on May 9.
The 2016 elections had the highest voter turnout in recent polls, with 31.25 percent or over 430,000 overseas Filipinos went to cast their votes. There were 1.37 million registered overseas voters that year.
Meanwhile, from the 1.82 million registered overseas voters in the 2019 polls, the voter turnout was 27.3 percent or 334,000.
Casquejo credited this year's "higher" voting turnout to new schemes implemented by the poll body, such as the "vote anywhere" concept and field voting.
In field voting, the embassy staff and the special board of election inspector will visit areas where overseas Filipino voters reside, he said.
For the "vote anywhere" scheme, he said registered overseas Filipinos were still allowed to vote even if they were in another country during the voting period.
Transparency advocates earlier expressed concern about the overseas voting due to reduced funding.
The poll body requested P510 million for overseas voting but the budget was trimmed down to P111 million.
"We asked in the en banc during en banc meeting, we asked for additional budget. Since we have some savings from other budget, we were given additional budget of P345 million. That is why we were able to conduct field voting and also we were able to give additional budget for the postage," Casquejo said.