Overseas voters await ballots as deadline approaches
SANDY, Utah — Melle Moreno and her son, Miguel Mendoza, want their voices to be heard in the 2019 Philippine midterm elections.
“I believe every single vote counts to make change,” Moreno said.
For the overseas absentee voters, casting their ballots keeps them connected to the motherland 7,000 miles away.
“Voting still makes me feel like I’m a part of the system, part of the country,” Mendoza said.
The only problem: Despite the fact that overseas voting started on April 13, Moreno has yet to receive the mailing packet containing her official ballot.
“I was in panic when I realized the second envelope wasn’t my name,” she said, “because I assumed there was one for me and one for my son.”
Moreno is not alone. According to a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs, there has been a “delay in the mailing of some ballots to overseas voters” but “the DFA will continue to coordinate with COMELEC to fast-track the process.”
The staff at the San Francisco consulate — which covers Utah and oversees the highest number of registered voters in the United States — mailed about 54,000 of its more than 59,000 ballots going into the weekend. The remaining packets are expected to be shipped and delivered this week.
While overseas voters living near a consulate can bypass the postal system by hand-delivering their fill-out ballots or voting in person, those who live farther away, in states like Utah, have no choice but to rely on snail mail.
For that reason, Moreno hopes her ballot arrives soon.
“Just so I can exercise my vote,” she said, “and get it in, and be counted.”
So she, like her son, can have a say in the future of the Philippines.