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Comelec, DFA want number of overseas voters doubled for 2016 polls

The Commission on Elections and the Department of Foreign Affairs want to double the number of overseas voters for the 2016 elections.

"The number of Filipinos abroad is nearing 12 million but we only have 1 million registered voters for OAV. Our target for 2016 is to at least bring it to 2 million," Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca said on her Facebook account.

She added, "Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis wants his DFA partners all over the world to have one mIllion more overseas Filipinos register as voters."

Earlier, the Comelec reported a low Overseas Absentee Voting turnout in the May 2013 midterm polls with only 117,383 participating out of 700,000 registered voters.

Comelec Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, chairman of the OAV committee attributed the low number of participants abroad to the lack of interest of Filipinos abroad.

“According to our ambassadors and consuls general, even when they went out of their way to entice the voters, maraming ayaw. They’re not so interested,” he said.

According to government records, there are 737,759 registered overseas voters worldwide, excluding the 238,557 voters who were supposed to be delisted for failing to vote during the 2007 and 2010 elections. However, they were later reinstated by the Comelec.

The registration for qualified Filipino voters abroad will resume on May 6, 2014 and will run until October 31, 2015. — JDS, GMA News