500,000 Pinoys abroad expected to vote in next year’s polls

By: Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star: 10/16/2006

Half a million Filipinos abroad, including undocumented workers, are set to vote in the 2007 senatorial and party-list elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

An estimated 150,000 Filipinos are expected to register for the overseas absentee voting which is ongoing until Oct. 31, Comelec Commissioner Florentino Tuason said.

In an interview, Tuason said, “500,000 is already substantial, it can make the difference on who will sit as the new senators.”

The poll official said a portion of those who registered for the coming elections are undocumented workers. “I don’t know the exact figure but we were able to encourage a number of undocumented Filipino workers to register,” he said.

Tuason noted that by registering for the coming elections, undocumented workers would not only be able to vote, but also legalize their stay abroad.

In the 2004 presidential elections, only 350,000 Filipinos abroad registered and participated in the polls.

Earlier, Tuason reported that about 5,000 Filipino migrants in the United States will be voting by mail in next year’s elections. He said the Comelec has decided to allow voting by mail in the US because it would be faster and cheaper.

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