05/10/2010 | 01:59 PM
(Updated 7:15 p.m.)Overseas absentee voting remains low at 24 percent of registered voters abroad Monday, with major Philippine diplomatic posts reporting a low number of Filipinos casting their ballots on the last day of voting, the Commission on Elections said Monday.
A total of 141,846 overseas Filipinos have voted as of 12 noon Monday, Commissioner Armando Velasco, chair f the Commission on Electionís Overseas Absentee Voting committee, said in a text message, citing the latest figures from Philippine posts abroad.
The figure represents just 24.05 percent of the 589,830 Filipino voters registered overseas.
In an interview with GMANews.TV, Vice Consul Val Roque said the last day of the month-long OAV was slow as overseas Filipino workers are at work, with Monday a normal working day abroad. He said a few hundred more votes should come in toward the closing of polling centers abroad.
The OAV is a month-long exercise that started on April 10. It would close in sync with the end of voting in the Philippines, which the Comelec extended to 7 p.m. Monday.
Overseas voting, except in Singapore and Hong Kong, is usually done manually, with the voter writing the candidates' names and casting the ballot either by mailing it or by personally going to the consular office to vote.
Filipinos overseas are required to vote only for the president, vice president, senators, and a party list representative.
Velasco said 56,614 voters personally went to vote with their respective consular offices while 34,730 sent their ballots by mail.
However, the elections in Singapore and Hong Kong were automated, because of the number of registered voters and the feasibility of holding computerized voting in those states.
The combined number of voters in Singapore (31,851) and in Hong Kong (95,355) accounts for 20 percent of the registered absentee voters worldwide.
The Middle East and the Africas have 225,148 registered voters, Asia-Pacific has 215,546 and North and South Americas have 66,745.
According to the Comelec, 568,733 absentee voters are land-based and 21,097 are seafarers.
The Consulate General in Jeddah and the labor office in Al Khobar have likewise reported low voter turnouts for May 10.
Only 16 percent or 81,732 of the registered overseas voters voted in 2007 and 65 percent or 233,092 in 2004.- VS, GMANews.TV