GEC: 2 Cases of Possible Fraud at Precincts To Be Referred to AG; Member Status in Doubt

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Guam- With much tension in the air and stakeholders packing the GCIC building, the Guam Election Commission Board of Directors started off its Wednesday meeting discussing voter complaint policies and 2 appearances of fraud at voter precincts.

Member Josh Tenorio said the 2 possible fraud cases are being looked into by GEC’s subcommittee and are being referred to the Attorney General’s Office. Chairman John Taitano also told GEC Executive Director John Blas to send out letters to the individuals involved and have a response by December 30.

However, most of the discussions centered on the terms of membership within the board.

Tenorio asked Director Blas about clarifying expirations of membership in the board. But Blas said documents of membership status are not available at the moment. Tenorio commented to Blas saying, “We need to get all documents in order because we are in court and we need to know who is a member of the election commission.” As PNC first reported, questions surrounding the status of members Martha Ruth and Joseph Mesa have been raised.

After hearing that documents weren’t available on the terms of the board, Member John Terlaje made a motion to recess the meeting because he didn’t feel comfortable making decisions if his membership expired too, but independent member Robert Cruz disagreed.

Before going into Executive Session, GEC Legal Counsel Caesar Cabot said that under Guam code, members can serve up to 2 years, but the term depends on dates given, which would come from an appointment letter, or when an oath of office was taken. He also said there is a rule of 90 days of acting capacity if a membership expires. Cabot added appointments by the Governor do not require legislative approval for the election board.

Additionally, Ruth tells PNC her membership is still valid because she was appointed in October of 2008, but took the oath of office in January 2009. Therefore, her membership would expire in January 2011. Mesa also says as far as he knows, his membership hasn’t expired, but doesn’t have the paperwork to show when his last appointment was made. He notes that this membership discussion is a ultimately a non-issue and does not affect the certification of the election results.

The board will meet again on December 22 at 4 pm.