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Internet voting by Filipinos overseas almost done deal, says Comelec

25 March 2024

Lines like this will be a thing of the past once overseas voting via internet is allowed next year

The Commission on Elections has taken a step closer to allowing millions of Filipinos abroad to cast their ballots through the internet for next year’s mid-term election in the Philippines, with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with various agencies to boost voter registration and turnout.

Comelec Chairman George M. Garcia said he signed the MOA Monday, along with representatives from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa), Rotary International District 3810, and the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (Amosup).

Part of the agreement is based on the expectation that internet voting, which was approved by the Comelec en banc last year, will not be opposed by lawmakers who may have reservations about a system that could lead to massive fraud, and endanger the sanctity of the ballot


Comelec maintains that it has the power to implement internet voting under Republic Act (RA) 9369 or the Automated Election System Act, but some Senators have argued that an enabling act is necessary to get it done.

Garcia said they agreed to implement internet voting next year as the third mode of overseas voting, apart from in-person or by mail, to make it more convenient for Filipinos abroad, especially the seafarers, to cast their votes.

Under the plan, registered Filipino voters may register their digital devices such as their mobile phones, tablet, or laptops so they can cast their votes through a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) or touch screen scheme.


This was also announced by Undersecretary Jesus Gary Domingo during his recent briefing to the Filipino community in Hong Kong on Mar. 17, as head of the Overseas Voting Secretariat at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“We’re almost there,” said USec Domingo, but cautioned that the measure could still face opposition from lawmakers.

He said OFW Party List Rep. Marissa del Mar-Magsino who authored the bill expanding the modes of voting for overseas Filipinos, has assured them of her support, but overseas Filipinos could help by urging their local leaders to also give it a push.

“Our target is to have it in place by the 2025 election,” said Domingo, who added that internet voting will make things a lot easier and more convenient for overseas voters.

“Internet voting will make whatever limitations you have a thing of  the past,” he added.

USec Domingo (in black barong) with Filcom leaders during the OV briefing on Mar 17

In Hong Kong, that includes waiting in line for hours to get to the voting precincts at Bayanihan Centre, especially during Sundays, when about 4,000 people cast their votes.

Domingo also said that the technology that will allow internet voting is still being developed, but the ultimate goal is to allow voters to use not just computer laptops and tablets, but also their mobile phones.

Meanwhile, Garcia said that with the landmark shift to internet voting, they hope to boost the number of Filipino voters abroad to three million, which is still just a fraction of the number of those eligible to vote.


“There are about 10 to 15 million Filipinos abroad, but we are sad that only 1.697 million of them have registered to vote for the 2022 elections,” Garcia said.

Of the registered voters abroad, 600,000 have already been deactivated, and only another 600,000 or 40.5 percent of the remaining active voters have cast their ballots.

“Now that we announced the internet voting with your help, we hope to increase the number of voters abroad,” he said.

Comelec plans to step up its information campaign to get more overseas Filipinos to register and vote before the Sept 30, 2024 deadline for voter registration.

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