Voting for the Next Philippine President from Here

Consul Kerwin Tate holds up a brown envelope containing voting material mailed to 26K registered voters in the Northeast. Consul General Mario de Leon Jr., to his right, says voting may be done on site at the Philippine Consulate, by mail or by visiting ‘collection centers’ across the region. (Photo via The FilAm)

Consul Kerwin Tate holds up a brown envelope containing voting material mailed to 26,000 registered voters in the Northeast. Consul General Mario de Leon Jr., to his right, says voting may be done on site at the Philippine Consulate, by mail or by visiting “collection centers” across the region. (Photo via The FilAm)

Filipinos living in the northeastern U.S. began voting in the Philippine presidential elections on April 9, and have a full month to cast their absentee ballots, reports Cristina DC Pastor in The FilAm.

While there are only 26,000 Filipinos eligible to vote in the five-way race, or about 0.04 percent of the total electorate of 54.4 million, their votes could make a difference in a tight race, says Pastor. And the convenience of voting in this election could encourage them to exercise their right to vote.

“For the first time,” Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. told members of the Fil-Am Press Club of New York, “we will have automated balloting.”

There are many ways FilAms can vote, according to De Leon. They can mail their ballots, they can vote in person at the Philippine Consulate building on Fifth Avenue, or they can go to any of three “off-site collection centers” in Needham, Massachusetts; Jersey City; and Southern New Jersey-Philadelphia area and cast their ballots.

De Leon noted now the number of voters typically increase during a presidential election. He said the consulate — with jurisdiction over the 10 states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont – registered about new 17K voters for this year’s polls.

For more on who is vying to succeed incumbent President Benigno Aquino III and how the “user-friendly” voting here will proceed, go to The FilAm.

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