Overseas voter turnout in Chile: zero

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The Philippine embassy in Chile had zero overseas voter turnout, while there was only one in Mexico, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.

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DFA-Overseas Voting Secretariat (OVS) Chairman Undersecretary Rafael Seguis said he will ask the heads of diplomatic outposts in Chile and Mexico to explain the low election returns.

Chile is currently beset with a massive flood problem following the heavy rains last week. A red alert has been declared in the capital city of Santiago, where the Philippine embassy is located, due to dirty water.

The overseas absentee voting (OAV) for over 1.3 million overseas Filipino voters (OFVs) started on April 9 and will end on May 9. There are 275,729 registered OFVs in Americas; 152,174 of them were newly registered.

As of Sunday, only 1,601 voters cast their ballots in Americas. It was the lowest turnout among the other three regions.

Seguis said there should be no Philippine embassies and consulates with zero voter turnout, urging ambassadors, officers and staff to vote and lead by example.

Based on the survey conducted by OVS after the 2013 elections, among the reasons why overseas Filipinos did not vote were (1) insufficient knowledge and information on the candidates, (2) voting not a priority due to distance, cost, time and effort involved, (3) movement and transfer of OFWs and their failure to provide their new address, (4) political apathy and distrust in the political system, (5) change of voter’s citizenship and (6) non-issuance of permit for field voting activities.

So far, the highest voter turnout was recorded in Singapore with 9,149 ballots cast. This was followed by Hong Kong with 7,833 voters.

A total of 66,378, or less than 10 percent of overseas voters, cast votes nine days after the absentee voting started.

Seguis earlier said that he is hoping to get at least one million Filipinos abroad to participate in the month-long polls.

He believes that OFVs are the game changer for Philippine politics.

“Since overseas Filipinos are considered to be their family’s breadwinners, it is not a stretch to surmise that each overseas Filipino can influence the vote of at least three family members. Thus, the 1.3 million active registered overseas voters are roughly equivalent to 5.2 million votes,” he said.

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