GEC may use CARES Act money to fund runoff election

Guam Election Commission (PNC file photo)

The Guam Election Commission is looking at tapping into CARES Act money to fund the runoff election on November 17.

During Thursday night’s GEC board meeting, executive director Maria Pangelinan said the election commission may not have enough money left over to fund the runoff election.

But during an interview with Patti Arroyo on K57 Friday morning, Pangelinan said that tapping into the CARES fund money is possible.

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“Quite a bit of it would be COVID CARES Act money. For example, all the costs of in-office early voting for the runoff, I’m going to check with our funder and see if that can be appropriately written out to the CARES Act funding,” Pangelinan said.

She added that 30 days of early voting is what is paid for by general appropriation and everything beyond that could be charged to CARES.

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“The extension to 45 days was because of the pandemic situation. So part of the expenditures can be appropriately charged to CARES. We don’t really have to have in-office early voting. If there was no pandemic, we could go straight to the runoff election on Nov. 17. But because of the pandemic, early voting is almost a must,” Pangelinan said.

Pangelinan also spoke about the need to conduct the runoff. She said even if one of the candidates conceded, the statutes still mandate the holding of the election and the next vote-getter would get into the ballot.

“According to the Organic Act, the congressional delegate must be elected by a majority and none of the three candidates garnered a majority. So there has to be a runoff so that one of them can garner a majority,” Pangelinan said.

Pangelinan also clarified that those who were on the roster during the general election are eligible to vote in the runoff. If they did not vote in the general election, they can still vote since they are already on the list.