Comelec OKs online voting for overseas Filipinos in 2025 polls
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved the use of online voting for overseas Filipinos in the 2025 elections to increase voter turnout.
“Why are not so many overseas Filipinos voting personally or by mail? Maybe they need another mode,” Comelec Chair George Garcia told reporters after the en banc convened on the matter on Wednesday. The poll body cited Republic Act No. 9189, or the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, which mandated it to “study the use of electronic mail, internet or other secured networks” for Filipino voters in other countries. It also pointed to RA 10590, which amended the earlier law, allowing Comelec to “explore other more efficient, reliable and secure modes or systems” without the need to go through legislative approval.
Depending on the available voting system in their respective areas, Filipinos living outside the country voted in previous elections either by sending their filled-out ballots via email or in person, with the ballots canvassed manually or through an automated system. Garcia described as “dismal” the turnout in the absentee voting for Filipinos abroad in last year’s presidential elections, as only about 39 percent out of the 1.697 million total registered overseas voters participated. The voting process was also marred by delays, long queues and complaints about the lack of election materials, as well as by a voter in Dubai and another one in Singapore who claimed they were given preshaded ballots.
In the 2019 midterm elections, overseas voter turnout reached only 18.47 percent, although turnout during the midterm polls is usually lower compared to presidential elections.