Hearing on DOJ’s Lawsuit Against Guam Election Commission Slated for Next Wednesday

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Guam – The Guam Election Commission (GEC) is gearing up for next Wednesday’s hearing on the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over GEC’s failure to mail out absentee ballots for the Guam Delegate race by September 18.

The lawsuit was brought under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and filed in District Court Wednesday by DOJ.

The federal agency also filed a motion to seek additional time for absentee ballots to be counted until November 15.

Executive Director John Blas says GEC cannot violate local law to count ballots after November 2 and comply with federal law. He mentions their legal counsel Rawlen Mantanona explained DOJ is seeking a court order so GEC can be able to extend its ballot counting for the Guam Delegate race. He adds a number of court dates are coming up to resolve this matter.

“Legal counsel also informed the board members that the date for the order to show case is on October 13, at which time he will represent the GEC” said Blas. “And I believe as some point, we will be providing a response for non compliance.”

Guam was supposed to send out ballots at least 45 days before the November 2 election because the Guam Delegate race is considered part of the federal General Election. Blas says legal action was necessary because the requested extension from DOJ would ensure military and overseas voters have a 45 day window to receive, mark, and return their ballots.