Guam – Lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday on an election reform bill that would repeal the law that allows for early in-office voting.
Currently Guam’s electorate is allowed to vote early if they so chose by showing up to the Guam Election Commission prior to the actual election and casting a ballots.
Former Guam Election Commission board member Larry Ramirez testified in opposition to Bill 50 because he believes early voting is good for Guam saying, “The early voting I think is one of the best opportunities that Senator Palacios I think introduced that gives the people the opportunity to vote and makes it easier for them.”
Ramirez says that most of the mistakes surrounding an election have nothing to do with early voting but rather with people who don’t know how the system works. “So an early primary as far as I’m concerned it is the best that could happen to Guam but put people in their place that know how to run that system and how to run the general election,” said Ramirez.
However, Chris Carillo, a staffer with Senator B.J. Cruz, testified in favor of the bill but not because he thinks the concept of early voting is bad.
“There was no security for the ballots every night after the staff went home they would take the ballots out of the lock box and take them out of the filing cabinet that was unlocked that every member of the election commission staff had a key to the office anyone could get access to that office,” said Carillo. Adding, “To this day we still have no record as to how many ballots were printed that’s a huge problem because if you don’t know how many ballots were printed how can you ascertain how many ballots were cast?”
Carillo says that he and others combed through the GEC’s records and were unable to ascertain how many ballots were cast and he wants to prevent this from happening in future elections.