CONSULATE TO OVERSEAS VOTERS: SEND YOUR BALLOTS EARLY

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

March 11, 2013

JERSEY CITY, NJ –Overseas Filipinos from around the world will cast their vote for 12 Senators and Party-List Representatives through the overseas absentee voting (OAV) in the May 13 Philippine general elections.

Filipinos in Jersey City say, they want to make sure their votes are counted.

Philippine consul in charge of political, economic and visa section, Zaldy Patron said that the overseas absentee voting period is from
April 13 to May 13 and those who have registered as OAVs will receive their ballots mailed by the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) a few days before the election period.

Patron said, “We just would like to request (voters) that as soon as they have received their ballots, not to wait too long anymore.
Immediately, have them mailed to the Philippine Consulate General so that their votes can be counted.”

The filled-out ballots should be mailed or personally dropped off at the nearest Philippine Consulate or Philippine Embassy.

Patron says, for your votes to be counted, ballots should be postmarked no later than May 13, otherwise it will be void and will not be
counted.

Each ballot kit comes with detailed instructions on how to complete the ballot.

“We urge them to read thoroughly, take time, to go over all the documents that will be sent to them, comply with the procedure and take note of the deadline so that their right to vote will not be useless and that they can be counted,” said Patron.

Patron says ballots returned to the consulate are the biggest issue election officials face. This happens when the registered voter has moved out of their registered address.

Since OAV registration period is over, voters who have changed residence can no longer request the consulate to recognize changes of address.

Patron said, “We appeal to them to contact their previous landlords for example. If they can just inform them where they are right now and request them to forward this mail ballots to their present address, then we can still accommodate that.”

Another way to do that is to log on to the U.S. Postal Service website at www.usps.com and fill out a change of address request will automatically forward your mails to your new address.

Patron said, “We encourage them to take their voting rights seriously, this is your opportunity to be a part of continued change in the Philippines.”

Contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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