As expected, there was a low turn out of the first day of the month long Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) at the Embassy of the Philippines in Korea. When I left at 1:00 pm I could count less than 15 persons who casted their votes. It was the media people who were there to cover the event that ended up voting themselves (they are duly registered voter).
Unlike the first election held in 2004 where ballots where sent by mail, this year it is personal voting where Overseas Filipinos have to go to the embassy to vote. Most of the ballots that were sent by mail returned back to the embassy since most OFW easily change their workplaces and places of domicile.
The embassy is still awaiting for the COMELEC’s approval to conduct the election in major cities here in Korea. A friend from Gwangju City (3hours and 40 minutes away from Seoul) mentioned that it will be hard for them to go and vote at the embassy. So they are still hoping that they will be given a chance to exercise their rights to vote.
In 2004 election, cast votes totaled to more than 500 out of more than 9,000. This year, 10,921 registered voters were recorded. The embassy is relying on the assistance of Filipino communities to help disseminate the information and educate their members on the election. They are conducting frequent phone brigades and emailing to these organizations.
Voting is open from Sunday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm, officials at the Embassy said they are flexible for groups and even individuals who would like to vote on a Saturday. They are encouraging voters to vote early on and avoid the mad rush at the end of the voting period which is 6:00pm of May 10, 2010.
First Voters in Seoul Different but Alike
By: Philippine Embassy
Seoul, South Korea – The first two overseas absentee voters of South Korea differ in several distinct respects but share common priorities when it comes to national consciousness: the need to exercise one’s right to suffrage, and to exercise it early.