Election reform bill now law; in-person absentee voting begins July 30

Senator Kelly Marsh (Taitano)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has signed into law Bill No. 330-35 (COR) which provides for expanded in-person absentee voting beginning July 30 for the 2020 elections.

Senator Kelly Marsh (Taitano), the sponsor of the bill, said the new law is in response to the different challenges faced during this election cycle in view of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“We are each being impacted by this global pandemic in different ways. Leaders owe it to our people to provide them flexibility in carrying out their sacred right to vote during this stressful, extraordinary time,” she said.

According to the senator,  election reform law gives Guam voters more options when it comes to casting their vote. Those who prefer to can still vote at the polls on election day.

At the same time, the senator said no reason is now needed to avail themselves of a 30-day window to cast their vote at the Guam Election Commission office.

“If someone wants to avoid the potential long lines on election day, they now have options. If they need or prefer flexibility, or find it safer to avoid crowds as a means to safeguard their health, they now have options. Further, the more that people take advantage of this option, the more expedient, less crowded, and safer voting will be at the polling stations on election day,” she said.

The senator commended and thanked the governor for signing her bill into law.

“I thank Governor Leon Guerrero for supporting this bipartisan effort to provide voters a flexible and safe option for exercising their right to vote. I also want to thank the Election Commission Executive Director for working with my office to arrive at a workable plan to give voters new options for casting their ballot,” she said.

The senator also noted that the new law also expands in-person absentee voting procedures for the general election as well.

Under the new law, the Guam Election Commission Office will, in consultation with Public Health, follow strict social-physical distancing and sanitization mandates which will mean that a limited number of residents can be accommodated at a time. On or after July 30, interested residents should call the Guam Election Commission or email them to receive instructions as to how to safely and efficiently use this expanded in-office voting.