Despite uncertainties, GEC preparing for primary election

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Guam Election Commission executive director Maria Pangelinan (PNC file photo)

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has thrown a wrench in the 2020 primary election which is only eight days away, but Guam Election Commission Director Maria Pangelinan says they still have their work cut out for them as the primary election is still on.

“One of the foundations of the election is our voter registry so that too we are really busy. Wednesday night was the last day for voter registration so we are, as we speak, cleaning out the registry and making sure that we also input all our new registrants. I think we are up to 54,700 registered voters for the primary election in 2020. And so far as I know, we’ve hit our 2,000 mark of in-office absentee voters … we’ve surpassed 2,200 last night,” Pangelinan said.

And while the island is going into lockdown, Guam Election Commission employees will continue trying to tie up loose ends as absentee voting services have been suspended.

“We’ve suspended the in-office absentee voting both in the office and curbside since 9 am this morning so we’ve called all our appointments and continue to try to get in touch with those that we haven’t. Also, we’re making sure that all the ballots are in its place in the vault,” Pangelinan said.

This suspension also includes homebound voting services. But does this mean that the primary election set for August 29th is also postponed?

“Postponing the primary rests with the governor, so it would be up to her to postpone the primary. The Guam Election Commission will have some challenges in meeting the mandates to make sure that general election ballots go out 45 days before the general election,” Pangelinan said.

Because of this, Pangelinan says that postponing the primary election would present a challenge to the GEC.

Meanwhile, the Governor’s Press Secretary, Krystal Paco-San Agustin, says that Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s position is to proceed with the election, adding that the GEC can make the decision to delay it.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.