First Voter Claims Returned Electoral Mail From SBRCG Tokyo

Overseas voter Mary Ann Que Akiyama receives her “returned-to-sender” electoral mail from SBRCG Chairman Dominic Xavier M. Imperial at the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.

12 April 2016 – Consul Dominic Xavier M. Imperial, Chairman of the Special Ballot Reception and Custody Group (SBRCG) in Tokyo welcomed overseas voter Mary Ann Que Akiyama at the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and presented her returned-to-sender (RTS) electoral mail. Ms. Akiyama is the first to claim among the 219 RTS electoral mails so far received by the SBRCG in Tokyo from Japan Post.

Upon receipt of her RTS electoral mail, Mary Ann immediately cast her vote and decided to feed her accomplished ballot into the voting counting machine. Mary Ann said that she was so excited with her voting experience because it was her first time to vote in her life.

Married to a Japanese national and who has been living in Japan for nine years now, Mary Ann learned from her Filipino friends that they have started receiving their ballots by mail. Worried that she may not receive her ballot because of change of address, Mary Ann used her mobile phone to check the website of the Embassy for news and information about the overseas voting. She later found at the website her name in the list of returned-to-sender electoral mails, with instructions to claim the ballots at the Embassy.

On 11 April, she visited the Embassy to claim her RTS electoral mail. She thanked the Embassy for posting online the names of those RTS electoral mails because it helped track anyone’s ballot especially for those who have changed their addresses and failed to inform the Embassy accordingly. She further said that the instructions posted online were very encouraging. She called on overseas voters to check the Embassy website from time to time for news and information about the ongoing 2016 National Elections, including tracking RTS electoral mails. Mary Ann was among those who lined up in the field registration campaign for overseas voters of the Embassy during the Philippine Festival held at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo on 19-20 September 2015.

For the 2016 National elections, the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo is implementing the Automated Election System (AES) allowing the 19,230 registered overseas voters to cast their votes either by postal or personal voting.