GEC Prepares For In-Office Voting; Lease Issue Still Unresolved

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Guam- The Guam Election Commission (GEC) Board of Directors completed its special meeting on Wednesday evening to continue preparations for the General Election.

The board discussed compliance with the Uniform and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and how the GEC has communicated electronically or by phone to send the Guam Delegate race ballot. So far, 66 out of 100 UOCAVA voters have responded to receive the ballot electronically or through the U.S. Postal Service.

GEC Executive Director John Blas earlier Wednesday said ligation is still expected this week from the Department of Justice (DOJ) for Guam not complying with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) act, which is federal law.

The board members also voted to ratify names of precinct officials, the district registration manual and registrars, pending changes.

Board members also centered on preparing an official list of precinct officials for the General Election. As it stands now, a list full of absent precinct officials and those that did poorly in the Primary Election has been made. The list of absent precinct officials is being forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for possible misdemeanor charges.

The creation of regional satellites offices for GEC to better accommodate in-office voting was also tabled. The idea came in the form of a bill introduced by Senator Frank Aguon Jr. The board agreed they will cross that bridge when they have to, but don’t have time to address it as they prepare for the General Election. Board member and former Senator Martha Ruth questioned the senator’s timing saying the board has “better things to do, like getting them elected.”

Another issue the board faces is whether homebound voting can take place. Homebound voters are sickly or bed-ridden voters who can’t leave their homes to vote in an election. So far, a list of 121 people has been compiled. GEC is preparing to mail out ballots to these voters and contact them to pick up the ballots when completed.

Members also approved the hours for in-office voting which will be Monday-Friday (10am – 6 pm) and Saturdays (9 am – 12 pm)

The board did not resolve the office space issue and will continue discussions in Executive Session.

Another GEC meeting has been scheduled sometime next week on Wednesday or Thursday.