Special polls for overseas voting in Shanghai set



The Manila Times



THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday announced that it will be setting special elections for overseas absentee voting (OAV) in Shanghai where an intensified Covid-19 lockdown is currently in effect. “There [are] still no election[s] in Shanghai; they are still under strict lockdown,” acting Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco said in a news report on Friday. Laudiangco also said out of the 26 electronically generated certificates of canvass (COCs) from the OAV, only the one in Hong Kong has not yet been submitted to the Comelec for canvassing because of the lockdown in Shanghai. The Hong Kong COC constitutes Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China. Shanghai, China’s largest city, has 1,991 overseas voters. It is now on its seventh week of citywide restrictions. Laudiangco said the COC from Hong Kong, Macau and other parts in mainland China is complete and ready to be transmitted. “The problem is mainland China because of the lockdown in Shanghai. Right now the commission en banc is studying whether to order the COC for HK, Macau and other parts of the mainland to be transmitted here so that it can be included in the ongoing canvassing,” he added. Laudiangco noted that with the current situation, the poll body will not forgo the transmission of the COC from Hong Kong. He said the Comelec will do what it did similarly in Amman, Jordan and Tel Aviv, Israel. These two posts were supposedly ready to transmit their COCs but the governments of Israel and Jordan did not allow the entry of the Comelec’s global area network transmission devices for security reasons. “What happened was the special board of canvassers there generated the CoCs and immediately personally brought them here [to the Philippines]. That may be the scenario for Hong Kong. They will be generating the COC for Hong Kong which includes Hong Kong, Macau and parts of mainland China. There is no need to lower the threshold because we can do that in the OAV,” Laudiangco explained. “The goal of [Comelec] Chairman [Saidamen] Pangarungan is not to disenfranchise any voter,” he said. Data from the Comelec showed that of the 1,406 overseas election returns expected, a total of 991 have already been received as of 1 p.m. of May 13.