Comelec OKs virtual applications, transactions for overseas absentee voter registration amid pandemic

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2021 06:16 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has authorized its Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) to “use virtual, online, or electronic platforms to receive and process” overseas voting applications or transactions for the May 2022 elections, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under en banc resolution No. 10709, the use of alternate online platforms will cover the following requests, applications and transactions:

  • certification as an overseas voter for overseas Filipinos with existing voters’ registration records and complete biometric data in the Comelec database;
  • reinstatement of names inadvertently omitted from the National Registry of Overseas Voters (NROV);
  • correction of entries: change in voter’s surname or family name due to change of civil status, death of spouse, or final court judgment; change in voter’s civil status; misspelled name or other erroneous entries
  • request for withdrawal of application for registration;
  • request for cancellation of overseas voter’s registration record (OVRR);
  • reactivation of deactivated OVRR as allowed by competent court or any competent authority, and reactivation following failure to vote in the previous 2 consecutive national elections;
  • updating a mailing or postal address and other contact information;
  • transfer of registration record between different countries or posts;
  • transfer of registration record from overseas to the Philippines insofar as cancellation of voter’s name from the certified list of overseas voters (CLOV) and removal of voter’s registration from the Book of Voters are concerned; and
  • applications for issuance of certified true copy of overseas voters’ registration record and other OFOV-related certifications.

The resolution also allows the use of videoconferencing “in cases where the filing of a sworn application or an application under oath is required by law”.

Exceptions to the rule or cases where in-person appearance is required are the following:

  • when applicant is registering as a first-time overseas voter with no existing voter registration record anywhere in the Philippines;
  • validation or recapturing of biometric data for registered overseas voters whose biometrics have not yet been taken;
  • correction of entries involving change of signature;
  • recapturing of biometrics, in cases when biometrics data are missing from their OVRRs; and
  • applications or transactions that require action from the offices or the election officer and/or election registration boards in the Philippines.

To avail of the online, virtual or electronic platforms for overseas voting registration concerns, applicants may accomplish the OVF-1 form through the Comelec’s iRehistro system for overseas voters at https://irehistro.comelec.gov.ph/irehistro/ovf1 OR email to ov.concerns@comelec.gov.ph, and attach a scanned copy of Philippine passport or Seafarer’s Record Book as proof of identity.

Queries may be coursed through OFOV’s official Facebook page at https://fb.com/overseasvotingph .

Requests, applications and other transactions received by the OFOV via online platforms that need action from the resident election registration board at the OFOV include (a) certification as an overseas voter; (b) reactivation of OVRRs; (c) correction of entries or change of name/civil status; (d) cancellation of OVRRs; and reinstatement of names inadvertently omitted from the National Registry of Overseas Voters (NROV).

While those that do not require RERB approval are (a) updating of overseas voter’s address and other contact information; (b) transfers of OVRRs between different posts or countries; and (c) cancellation of name from the CLOV and removal of OVRR from the Book of Records, in cases where the overseas voter applied for transfer of registration record to the Philippines.

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