The overseas absentee voting law gives OFWs and Filipino immigrants the right to vote. At more than 10 million Overseas Filipinos, you can decide the outcome of Philippine elections. But with absentee ballot, voting on the internet is not possible, yet.
We know Philippine politics differs from that in your host country. It lets you view the Philippines differently. This gives you a better idea of who should govern the country.
You can help elect the President, the Vice President, Senators and Party-List Representatives.
Being abroad provide you a better learning experience. You can balance that programs and not just popularity and patronage play a key role in elections.
Can you imagine its effect if you elect the right people?
Getting more fellow Overseas Filipinos on the list of voters is the biggest challenge. I am sure there are big groups of OFWs and Filipino immigrants in many places in the world. Can you get all of your members to register?
The law cannot work on your part without you on the list of voters. You may have reasons for not being able to vote in previous elections. But I hope you can make it in future ones.
The place and time to register may not be convenient, that is why this is not a one-day affair. Fix your time early. This is good for a trip to the consulate or embassy with your friends, family or members of your group.If you are in the Philippines, you may register at the OFW Pre-Departure Lounge at NAIA or at the POEA Ground Floor. Seafarers may go to any post abroad. You have to go there with your valid passport. This will not take much of your time if you can register on the internet.
The overseas absentee voting law allows voting within one month before the election in the Philippines. You go to the nearest embassy or consulate and cast your vote, unless the COMELEC allows postal voting.
Postal voting suits voters in countries where it will take hours to go to the polling place. You have been in your host country for some time. You now have an idea on how effective and secure the postal system is. COMELEC now allows this mode of voting in select countries.
Some Philippine embassies conduct hybrid election system where automated election and automated/postal voting combine. The first is voting in person and feeding the ballot into the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine. The second is voting by mail and then feeding the filled up ballot into the PCOS machine.
But there is a better way to vote...
This will allow OFWs and Filipino immigrants to vote using the internet. You vote with ease and comfort at work, at home or any place with internet access. The computer becomes your polling place.
Ease in voting allows more voters to join the election process. It can extend voting time because there are no more paper ballots to count. This will earn public savings to improve services for Overseas Filipinos. Safeguards against fraud will address security concerns.
Internet voting is an ideal tool. The tool is not useful enough with lesser users or registered voters. They say the overseas absentee voting law does not allow it. So, the more absentee voters in an area or country, the more chances internet voting will be adopted.
Overseas Filipinos are a huge number of likely voters. You can elect who you want in Philippine elections. The big question is: Will you make the overseas absentee voting law work for you and your family, now?
OWWA benefits OFW-members, seamen or seafarers and their dependents. These include scholarship programs, financial assistance, health benefits and free training courses.
Leni Robredo won the Vice-Presidency by a slim margin although the OFW absentee voting ballots favored her closest rival. Here are her plans for OFWs.
OWWA serves and protects its member-OFWs before, during and after working and living abroad. Your contribution allow you to avail of its benefits. Its hotline is open 24/7 for any issue.