By Leslie Ann Aquino
The number of Philippine posts abroad that will adopt the automated election system (AES) for the overseas absentee voting (OAV) in the May 2019 midterm polls has climbed from 30 to 41.
In Minute Resolution No. 18-1124, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) identified these posts as Agana, Calgary, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Ottawa, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Brunei, Canberra, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Syndey, Tokyo, Wellington, Athens, London, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Al-Khobar, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv.
During the May 2016 polls, the 30 posts that used the vote counting machines (VCMs) were Agana, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Ottawa, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, London, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Manama, Al Khobar, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv.
In the past, then Commissioner Arthur Lim explained these are those with many registered overseas absentee voters.
Other posts, meantime, will adopt the manual system of voting wherein voters will cast their votes either through postal or personal voting.
The 29 posts that will use postal voting are Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Santiago, Bangkok, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Islamabad, Port Moresby, Yangon, Ankara, Berlin, Berne, Brussels, Budapest, Geneva, Lisbon, Moscow, Oslo, Paris, Prague, The Hague, Vienna, Warsaw, Abuja, Cairo, and Pretoria.
As for the 13 posts that will use personal voting, these are Dhaka, Dili, Jakarta, Manado, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, Shanghai, Vientiane, Xiamen, Vatican, Amman, Nairobi, and Tehran.
“The appropriate mode of voting to be adopted by posts (were made by) taking into consideration the recommendations of Posts based on the number of registered voters, the accessibility of posts to overseas voters, and the efficiency of the posts adopted mode of voting in the 2016 elections,” the Comelec said.
Meanwhile, the Comelec is also planning to conduct mock elections in overseas voting particularly in Phom Phen in Cambodia.
“We are going to conduct mock elections in overseas voting @COMELEC .Please encourage your family members abroad to vote in May,” Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in a Twitter post.
She said this is so they can anticipate possible errors during election day and take steps to prevent them.