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Record turnout in mid-term election seen this year

06 May 2019

By Daisy CL Mandap
Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor
May 5 saw the biggest daily turnout for a mid-term overseas election among Filipinos in HK 

 A last-minute surge in the number of voters at Bayanihan Centre has raised hopes of a record turnout in Hong Kong for the mid-term election in the Philippines.

As of yesterday, May 5, the overall turnout had reportedly gone up to more than 26,000, according to Consul General Antonio Morales. The day’s total tally alone reached more than 4,500, a record for this year and the previous mid-term election in 2013.
The number was reportedly boosted by three busloads of voters from El Shaddai, a Catholic charismatic group whose leader, Mike Velarde recently endorsed the administration’s senatorial candidates.

Congen Morales says that at this rate, he is confident the final tally will exceed the total turnout of 28,252 posted in the 2013 mid-term vote. That result represented 32% of the 87,000 total registered voters for that year.
“So even in terms of percentage, the results this year would likely be higher, given that the total registration figure is even lower now,” said Congen Morales.

He said the high interest among voters appears to show how involved Filipinos have become in choosing their next leaders.

With vote-counting machines working smoothly, the voting takes only a few minutes to complete 

The day’s record turnout came as a surprise to many, since it was raining heavily throughout most of the day, and such weather used to deter voters from going to Bayanihan to cast their ballots.
Also, the previous practice of busing voters from far-flung places in Hong Kong was not done this year, after Congen Morales thumbed down the idea, saying it violated election laws.

Congen also noted that the Commission on Elections has been strict in enforcing its rules on de-listing voters who did not cast their ballots in two consecutive elections.
Only those who could show proof that they had voted in either, or both of the two previous elections, have reportedly been allowed to get their names back on the registry so they could vote.

But Comelec has reportedly been more flexible in allowing overseas voters registered in other countries to cast their ballots in Hong Kong. A new staff member of the Consulate whose name is still in the voters’ list in Kuwait was reportedly allowed to vote here.
“This applies only to overseas voters, though, and not those who are registered to vote in the Philippines,” said Congen Morales.

As in the previous Sunday, however, there was an unusually number of "overvotes", or those where the voter ticked the boxes for more than 12 senatorial candidates, or one party-list, in the ballot. In such cases the ballots are deemed spoiled, and no votes from them are counted.
The month-long overseas voting which started on Apr 13 will continue until this coming Monday, May 13, when voters across the Philippines will also go to the polling stations.
Voters abroad are asked to elect 12 senatorial candidates and one party-list group, while those in the Philippines will cast their ballots for both national and local candidates.
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