NEW YORK – In just a few days on April 9, Filipino overseas absentee voters who registered for the 2016 Philippine elections will start receiving voting packets from their respective Philippine consulates.
The packet contains a paper seal, a return envelope, an instruction manual in Tagalog and the ballot itself.
In a press conference, Consul Kerwin Tate said the ballots are shorter than the ones in Philippines because local positions are excluded.
Using only black ink pens, Tate showed how to completely shade their choices for president, vice president, 12 senators and a party list.
The machine may not be able to count a vote if pencils or any other colors are used and if shading is incomplete.
“If you mark two for the president, that will not be counted. Not invalid but it will not be counted,” said Tate. “If you mark 13 senators that will not be counted either but if you put 11, that’s an under vote that will be counted.”
Fold the ballot and place it in the return envelope. Do not use any other envelope other than the provided official return envelope.
Seal the envelope and place the provided paper seal sticker on the top flap.
Fill out the blanks on the face of the envelope.
“You will put your signature and write your name, there’s a box where you sign,” added Tate. “There’s a box where you sign your name and then you buy your stamp for the ballot.”
Voters have the option to main in their ballot or deliver the ballot in person to their respective consulates.
On Mondays and Thursdays, voters also have the option to personally feed their ballots into the vote counting machines at their Philippine Consulates between 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
In accordance with a recent Philippine Supreme Court ruling, a ballot receipt will now be printed after each feeding.
Registered voters who have home address changes or who have not received their ballots may email the Philippine Consulate in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax their change of address at 212-764-6010.
“We encourage them to fill up the ballot and to mail it immediately,” said Consul General Mario de Leon.
Whether by mail or hand-delivered, completed ballots must be received at their consulates before 5 a.m. on May 9, otherwise late ballots or tampered ballots will not be counted.