Commission to certify general election this Friday

Guam gubernatorial candidates, L-R: Governor-elect Lou Leon Guerrero (D), Sen. Frank Aguon, Jr. (write-in), and Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio (R).

Guam – The Guam Election Commission is set to count as many as hundreds of absentee ballots and a handful of provisional ballots before certifying election results this Friday.

Even if as many as 300 provisional and absentee ballots are added to the votes counted immediately following the Nov. 6 general election, a gubernatorial runoff is unlikely. If that presumption holds, Lou Leon Guerrero will be sworn in as Guam’s first woman governor by the first week of January 2019.

Should Republican gubernatorial candidate Ray Tenorio and his running mate Tony Ada actually receive all 300 such hypothetical votes, their Democratic rivals, Lou Leon Guerrero and running mate Josh Tenorio, would still maintain a 50.2 percent lead in election results prior to certification.

The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio ticket garnered an unofficial 50.7 percent of the vote after ballots were counted immediately following the general election, enough to be declared the unofficial winners. Tenorio-Ada received 26.41 percent of the vote. If Leon Guerrero-Tenorio’s lead dips below 50 percent plus one vote following the counting of absentee and provisional ballots, it will trigger a runoff election with Tenorio-Ada. The gap between Leon Guerrero-Tenorio and Tenorio-Ada was widened when write-in ballots accounted for 22.88 percent of the vote. Sen. Frank Aguon, Jr. (D) and his running mate, Alicia Limtiaco, had mounted a concerted write-in campaign after their narrow defeat in last August’s Democratic primary.

The Guam Election Commission’s 2018 General Election Absentee Ballot Status Listing enumerates 624 approved absentee ballot requests and 14 pending requests, for a total of 638 possible absentee votes. But it is generally understood that not all requested absentee ballots automatically translate into votes cast. Some would-be absentee voters make it back to the island on time to participate in election day voting at local poll sites, others never mail in their ballots from abroad.

But in the event that that Tenorio-Ada ticket was to receive most or all of the 624 approved absentee ballots, even without the provisional ballots, it would be just enough to erase Leon Guerrero-Tenorio’s majority lead and tip the scales for a runoff.

Commissioners are expected to certify votes in all general election categories this Friday, including results in gubernatorial, legislative, congressional, attorney general, judicial retention, Guam Education Board, and Consolidated Commission on Utilities races.

The Guam Election Commission board meets at 9:00 a.m. this Friday morning, Nov. 23. Commissioners are expected to certify election results inside the GEC Conference Room on the second floor of the GCIC Building in Hagatna.