GEC budget cut to affect next year’s elections

Maria Pangelinan, executive director of the Guam Election Commission, said they are now talking with GEC's oversight chair, Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, to further discuss GEC's funding woes.

It would be unfortunate if the Guam Election Commission got a budget cut with the midterm elections just around the corner.

But GEC executive director Maria Pangelinan said that is exactly what happened.

In an interview with Phill Leon Guerrero on NewsTalk K57, Pangelinan said GEC has a $600,000 shortfall compared to its previous budget.

She said this could adversely affect the primary election scheduled for next year.

According to Pangelinan, it costs about $315,000 to run a primary election. And this still doesn’t include the cost of regular salaries and legal services.

Even if the primary election is eliminated as some have proposed, Pangelinan said GEC would still be short for the general election.

If GEC doesn’t get any supplemental funding, Pangelinan said they would have to start a hiring freeze starting in April. This would affect the 335 precinct officials that are usually needed during elections as well as numerous tabulators.

In addition, Pangelinan said voter initiatives can also be adversely affected since every voter initiative usually costs $50,000 each.

Pangelinan said they are now talking with GEC’s oversight chair, Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, to further discuss GEC’s funding woes.