200,000 absentee voters deactivated
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has deactivated around 200,000 overseas absentee voters for failing to vote in two consecutive national elections.
The Comelec’s Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) urged the deactivated overseas Filipino voters to register to be able to vote in midterm elections in 2019.
“We are not so strict in enfranchisement. You only have to go to the embassy and give a manifestation of intent, it is already enough proof of your desire to be reinstated,” Election Commissioner Arthur Lim said.
Lim heads the OFOV, which recorded 1,376,067 overseas absentee voters in last year’s national elections.
Records, however, showed that after the balloting, around 200,000 overseas absentee voters did not vote, resulting in their deactivation, as they also failed to vote in 2010.
“We have to implement the law so we deactivated them. We cannot avoid doing that because our task is also law enforcement,” Lim said.
Under Republic Act No. 8189 or the Voters’ Registration Act of 1996, voters’ failure to vote in two consecutive national elections results in their deactivation.
Lim, however, gave assurance that the Comelec will make reinstatement easy for the deactivated voters so they can exercise their right to vote again.
“We still adopt the ‘register anywhere’ policy. So they can register anywhere,” Lim said, explaining that the absentee voters can register either in the countries where they are working or in the Philippines.
The Comelec resumed overseas absentee voter registrations for the May 2019 midterm elections last Dec. 1.
The registration will end on Sept. 30, 2019.
The Comelec aims to register 1 million overseas absentee voters this time to bring the total number of registered overseas voters to 2.3 million.
In last year’s elections, there were 1,376,067 overseas absentee voters, including 1,326,728 land-based and 49,339 sea-based voters.