GEC: More than 10,000 have already cast their votes

Photo shows in-house office absentee voting at the Guam Election Commission. (PNC file photo)

As of Wednesday, more than 10,100 have already voted ahead of the general election next week.

According to the Guam Election Commission, this is far more than the last non-gubernatorial election in 2016 when the commission counted fewer in-office absentee ballots.

But according to GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan, the COVID-19 pandemic also changed the way the commission implemented in-office absentee voting.

In prior years, only those with a valid reason were allowed to vote in-office. But this year, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, GEC expanded in-office absentee voting to satellite locations so more people could vote before November 3.

They also created a safety plan and received CARES ACT funding to implement the plan.

In an interview with Patti Arroyo on K57, Pangelinan also mentioned other efforts by the commission to reach out to more homebound voters — this time to voters who are at the quarantine facilities.

“We are going to start servicing our homebound voters — those at the quarantine and isolation facilities..we are going to do a big push starting Friday night to Sunday,” Pangelinan said.

She added that the early voting numbers represent around 18 percent of the island’s electorate.

The number of registered voters has also grown this election year and this could increase the voter participation rate

According to Pangelinan, voting registration is back up at 55,000 this year. The last time Guam had these numbers was in 2002.