Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
NEW YORK – The Philippine Consulate in New York is now issuing provisional or replacement ballots for overseas voters who have not received their ballots.
When registered voter Christopher Diaz did not receive his ballot because he had already left his previously listed home address and moved to a new one, he decided to check with the Philippine Consulate in New York.
With only a few days left before the May 9 Philippine national elections, he was given a provisional ballot to cast his vote.
“Kung gusto niyo talaga maka-abot yung boto niyo, kung may time lang kayo dito, malapit lang para hindi masayang yung boto kasi pag minail niyo it takes time,” he said.
Consulate officials say they have mailed out all of the nearly 26,000 ballots to the 10 states in their jurisdiction on April 25.
About 6,000 accomplished ballots have been returned as of today.
But the rest of the 20,000 ballots or 77% of north east coast registered voters have yet to be received or personally cast their votes.
With only 5 days left before elections, the Philippine consulate sent out a new advisory on the use of provisional ballots to voters.
“Kung registered voter po sila at hindi pa nila natatanggap ang kanilang balota, ay kung maari lang po pumunta sila dito sa konsulado simula ngayong araw,” said Consul Kerwin Tate.
The advisory says: “Registered voters must appear personally at the consulate to state that they have not received their ballot.”
A replacement or provisional ballot with a new serial number will be issued to the voter.
The Philippine consulate in New York will be accommodating registered voters to cast their vote using provisional ballots daily until Sunday between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Pwede ko naman siyang i-mail kaso sinisigurado ko lang na lahat maayos, na ang boto ko ay mapupunta sa tamang binoto ko,” said Saymir David.
“Kung boboto po tayo, gawin natin sa lalong madaling panahon, dahil ayaw naman po naming hindi maisama sa bilang sa bilangan yung inyong mga boto,” said Tate.
For those who have yet to mail out their ballots, Tate said voters should make sure their accomplished ballots must be received by the consulate before the polls close at 5 a.m. east coast time. Ballots that come in after the absolute deadline will be invalidated and will not be counted.