A private election watchdog said Saturday fewer voters were expected to participate in the May 13 midterm elections—where there are more than 18,000 positions at stake—compared to the 2016 presidential polls.
National Citizens Movement for Free Elections Secretary General Eric Alvia told a news conference the midterm elections, every three years, generally suffered from low voter turnout due to the perception that it was “less important than the presidential elections held every six years.”
According to the Commission on Elections, there were 61,843,750 registered voters within the country and 1,822,173 were registered overseas.
“We see a low voter turnout this coming polls because of other’s perception that this is just the midterm elections. They don’t realize that this election is also important,” Alvia said.
He did not specify the exact figures for “fewer voters” and whether these included the Gen X, the millennials, and the Gen Z.
The May 2016 presidential polls that saw the Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte elected to the highest political gift of the Filipino people with a voter turnout of 81 percent.
Gen X (Generation X), or those born from the 1960s to the early 1980s, comprise 19,911,867 of the total number of voters, accounting for roughly 32 percent.
Millennials and Gen Z (Generation Z) or those born in the mid-90s and early 2000s, comprise around 31 percent of the total vote, or 18,847,230 voters.
Not far behind are baby boomers who account for around 28 percent of the vote, 17,216,364 voters are registered in this age range.
The remaining 9 percent of voters are aged 65 and older, comprising 5,868,289 of the over 61-plus million voters.
Alvia explained that the midterm polls serve as a litmus test for challengers to know whether the incumbent—in this case, President Duterte and all the incumbent officials thus challenged—were weak enough to be unseated.
Alvia also noted that the limited number of candidates to choose from has an effect on voter turnout.
But Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) executive director Ona Caritos remained hopeful.