What is Local Absentee Voting? What entails the Power of Local Absentee Voting by serving our Country and the Right to Vote at the same time? Read to know more.
Under Republic Act 7166 and Executive Order no. 157 Local Absentee Voting is a system of voting whereby any person who because of public functions and duties is not in his or her place of registration on election day may vote in the city/municipality where he or she is assigned on election day.
In other words, Local absentee voting is to give way to the right of Filipinos working in the government and media to vote and to participate in the National Election on May 9, 2022, in preliminary time, so that they can still duly perform their mandatory job during the National Election and its entire process and procedures. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) will be assigned temporarily to perform election duties in the places where they are not registered voters while media voters as well will perform their functions by covering and reporting the National Elections. The media that embodied a huge responsibility by reporting in the news nationwide about the National Election covering local, regional, city, provincial, municipals of the entire Philippines, these include also the Broadsheets or Publications or other forms of journalism including their technical support and staff are included in Local Absentee Voting.
Here is the complete list of members that are entitled to Local Absentee Voting:
- Government Officials and Employees Members of PNP and AFP
- Media: Print Journalist, Television Journalist, Photo Journalist, Online Journalist, a Radio Journalist. Documentary Makers, Television and Radio Production, Bloggers, Freelance and Journalist.
Three days of Local Absentee Voting kicked off last April 27 to April 29. As tallied by the COMELEC a total of 93, 698 government and media personnel applied for Local Absentee voting with 9,341 applications being denied this year 2022. The top three registered in Local Absentee Voters are from Philippine National Police with 47, 021, Philippine Army with 34, 570, and the Philippine Air Force with 3, 005. Local Absentee Voters are allowed to vote for the national position of President, Vice-President, Senators, and Party List Representative.
What is the Local Absentee Voting System?
1. The Registration
As part of the procedure in the election, those who are entitled to Local Absentee Voting must accomplish the form Local Absentee Voting (LAV), the filing was done and scheduled last March 7, 2022. For Government Employees, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) may accomplish the form with their Head Offices, Commanders, and Supervisors while the media in Regional Election Directors, City Election Officers, and Provincial Election Supervisors. Regards to Freelance Journalists they must present a certification under oath that they have valid assignments from legitimate media organizations attached with proof also. For Online Publishers, they must present certification and they are actively presently doing online election content. The voter also must make sure that their name in their respective precincts is active.
2. The Committee
Local Absentee Voting is manual voting. It is structurally implemented by the power of the Committee on Local Absentee Voting (CLAV) which supervises the implementation of the Local absentee voting. CLAV consists of the Chairperson, the Electoral Contests Department (ECAD), and the Information Technology (IT) Department. To start the implementation the Local Absentee Groups (LAV Groups) shall be given the task to process the application to vote come from different regions and media. The next thing is that Information Technology will provide the CLAV with the updated National List Registered Voters (NLRV) and technical assistance in the verification of registered voters.
3. The Distribution
The List of approved applicants then is transmitted to all concerned Heads of Offices/ Supervisors, Commanders, or next-in-rank. The distribution of ballots is between 8:00 am to 5:00 pm distributed by the Heads, Supervisors, and Commanders under the direct supervision of representative Municipality or District executives and CEOs for the media. There should be the exact number of absentee ballots in the envelopes inner and outer, with paper seals corresponding to the number of approved applicants.
4. The Voting Process
- The voter should affix his signature opposite to his name on the list
- Detach the ballot and retain the stubs where the serial number appears, write the serial numbers of the ballot, security envelope, and the seal opposite of the voter’s name in the list.
- Handover the ballot to the voter, the two envelopes and two paper seal
- Time to vote!
- During voting, the absentee voter shall imprint his thumb mark on the designated detachable coupon, the coupon must be detached from the ballot and placed both inside the outer envelope while the ballot must be placed inside the inner envelope close, and seal it. The sealed inner envelope must be placed inside the outer envelope and sealed likewise.
- Write his name on the outer envelope and submit it to their designated supervisor or commander.
5. The Canvassing/Counting
The counting of votes in local absentee voting is manual. The counting and canvassing will take place at the main Comelec office on the 3rd and 4th floor of the Bureau of Treasury in Intramuros after polls close on May 9 at 7 pm. The Counting will still be in charge of the Committee on Local Absentee voting and they will give the floor of counting the ballots to the Special Electoral Boards Inspector who are all from the Commission on Elections or the COMELEC.
Whether Local Absentee Voting, National Voting, or Overseas Absentee Voting, we are all representing our country: the Philippines’ future for the next six years. The power to vote speaks to our Filipino trait and culture of democracy. The power to vote is our voice to choose whoever leader we think deserves to lead our Country, the leader that is an emblem or representation of our outlook, ideals, and love for our country.
Local Absentee Voting has few members or voters yes this is true but the powerful combination of being a Filipino voter and serving as well during the election is indeed a seal of LOVE of our Country. Their responsibility to make sure the Election Campaign to Voting down to proclamation is smoothly running in peace and order and all the information is well delivered and disseminated nationwide are works of a living hero.
All the members of Local Absentee Voting inspire us to vote within our hearts and of service concomitantly, it’s not just a duty or job for them, it is a freedom to exercise one’s privilege as a Filipino Citizen to serve our country. Thus the power of Local Absentee Voting, by serving our Country in securing the votes, exercising to vote, and monitoring and covering the election gives us the privilege as Filipinos to be informed, educated, and be safe on the much-awaited May 9, 2022, National Election.
Let us do our part by voting wisely for our beloved Philippines. So in the future, we will be able to live our lives simultaneously growing, to experience living in our Country with great development and opportunities that everybody can afford food, housing, investments, and health.
Let us take part in serving our country by voting with integrity and using our power to give our Country the best officials.
Written by Rowena Lansang