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Congen urges more Filipinos to vote amid low turnout

28 April 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
Last 2 voters for the day said they came from a prison visit

Consul General Antonio Morales has urged Filipinos in Hong Kong to go out and vote as he expressed concern over the low turnout rate in the ongoing overseas election for senators and party-lists in the Philippines.

Morales made his appeal in a media briefing yesterday, April 27, at Bayanihan Centre after announcing that a little over 700 voted on Day 15 of the month-long elections, lower than the usual turnout on a Saturday.

Morales said turnout could only be 24% of registered voters if trend continues

That figure brought the total number of votes since Apr 13 to nearly 12,200, or close to 14% of the 87,441 registered overseas voters in the city, he said.

“Pakisabi nyo sa inyong mga kababayan na bumoto para… kasi kapag Lunes hanggang Biyernes kaunti lang ang bumuboto. Usually, pagka Saturday malaki eh. Ngayon medyo mababa. Bukas uulan pa,” Morales said.
If the trend continues, Morales estimates the overall turnout could be just 24%, lower than the 28% achieved in the last mid-term election in 2013.

“We ask you to help us in (asking) our kababayans to vote early. Sana huwag na sa huling linggo ng eleksiyon dahil mahirap ang pagboto kapag maraming tao,” he said.
Morales said three overvotes were again recorded during the day, but only one protest was filed. The voter insisted she picked only 12 candidates for senator but the vote counting machine in her precinct, SBEI 9, indicated she had overvoted.

One other voter in the same precinct and another in SBEI 3 had the same result but chose not to file a protest.
Morales said the protest was sent to the Commission of Elections and that it was up to the election body to decide on the issue.

Once the ballot has been fed into the VCM and the ballot box, election inspectors in Hong Kong can no longer retrieve the ballot in question, Morales said.

Supporters of a pro-administration party who attended the briefing said the woman who filed the protest was crying over her spoiled ballot outside the Bayanihan Centre. She was reportedly insisting she voted for only 12 candidates.

The supporters also said one voter marked the tick box for Francis Tolentino but the ballot receipt reportedly indicated she voted for Butch Valdez.

Aside from the overvotes, no other problem was recorded, said the consul general.

“The machines were holding up, and an additional five are on standby para sakaling may mag-breakdown ay may ipapapalit,” Morales said.

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