DUBAI – As the Overseas Absentee Voting gets underway in the UAE, Philippine officials urged Filipinos to participate in the elections while reminding them not to take photos of their ballot.
In an interview with Expatmedia.net, Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes reminded voters against taking ballot selfies or sharing information about their vote.
“Generally we do hope that people coming to the consulate will observe certain rules, particularly not sharing who they’re voting, not peeking into what others are choosing,” Cortes said.
Mobile phones, cameras or other recording devices are prohibited in early voting centres or at a polling place. Voters are not allowed to take photos of their ballots. One of the concerns driving the laws against them is the possibility of vote buying where individuals might demand for photos of a marked ballot as proof.
“We like [voters] to understand how people feel about their choices so we ask people not to take a look at who they’re voting or take a picture of the ballot,” Cortes said, adding that campaigning in any form at the polling centre is also prohibited.
The consul general urged Filipinos in the UAE to vote, saying it is “part of the moral obligation of each and every Filipino abroad to be a part of the nation building process.”
Overseas Absentee Voting for the Philippine elections started on April 13 and will continue until May 13. More than 1.8 million registered Filipino voters abroad are expected to participate, with more than 109,0000 registered Filipino voters in Abu Dhabi, and 209, 862 registered voters in Dubai and the northern emirates.
Absentee voters will be casting their ballots to elect 12 senators and one party-list group.
Expatmedia.net talked to the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi to tell us all you need to know about the overseas voting process.
Any registered voter in Abu Dhabi [and the rest of the UAE] can vote.
The registration for overseas voting has closed last September 30, 2018. It actually lasted for 22 months (December 1, 2016 to September 30, 2018). If you are not on the list, you have to wait for the next round of Overseas Voting registration to be able to register.
The next round of registration is definitely a few months after the elections. Appropriate advisory will be disseminated by the Embassy in this regard.
For Abu Dhabi, click on the links below:
Surnames A – B
Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi
April 13: 8am to 4pm
April 14-17: 9am to 5pm
April 18-19: 9am to 5pm (Due to the demand of voters, the Comelec on April 13 instructed all foreign service posts to open on these religious holidays)
April 20-May 12: 9am to 5pm
May 13: 6am to 2pm
Philippine Consulate Dubai
April 13 to May 12: 8am to 9pm (except April 18 and 19)
May 13: 6am to 2pm
– You should bring any form of identification.
– No person carrying firearms or deadly weapons would be allowed in the precincts.
– Although we do not prohibit bringing cellphones in voting precincts, it is important to note that voters are not allowed to take photos of their ballots or take photos at the precincts.
Each registered voter will be assigned a clustered precinct. The Embassy will have six clustered precincts.
– There should be no crowding of voters or disorderly behavior.
– Voter cannot be accompanied by anybody in accomplishing the ballot, except for illiterate or Persons with Disabilities (PWD).
– Voter is not allowed to speak with anyone while accomplishing his or her ballot.
– Intentionally tearing, defacing or erasing any printing on the ballot or putting any distinguishing mark is strictly prohibited.
– It is also not allowed to exhibit contents of the ballot to any person or bring the ballot outside designated area for voting.
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