Guam – The general election is upon us. Meantime, the Guam Election Commission is busy tackling last-minute details to ensure a smooth operation throughout Guam’s own “Super Tuesday”.
Leading up to the big day, the Election Commission has fielded numerous complaints; from the way votes are counted to conflicts of interests; from spoiled ballots to allegations of impropriety. If there’s one takeaway from Sunday’s test election at the University of Guam’s Calvo Field House, it’s that the commission is doing everything it can to protect the integrity of the upcoming election.
“I think our elections are being run with a very high degree of integrity and accountability,” Independent Commissioner Patrick Civille said.
With the anticipation of a high turnout in response to Sen. Frank Aguon, Jr. (D) and Attorney Alicia Limtiaco’s write-in campaign, concerns were naturally raised about the automatic tabulators’ capacity to accurately count write-in votes. As demonstrated in the test election this weekend, protocols are in place to ensure that all valid write-in votes are counted.
“Once the machine recognizes a write-in vote is cast, it will stop the machine, and the operator will then take the last ballot in the output hopper and place it in the special envelop that will pass over to the write-in tabulation board that will then manually determine the write-in candidate. And all we’re doing is counting the oval position(s) that are filled in for the write-in candidate,” said Bill McCullough, a representative of Election System Software who was on hand for Sunday’s test election.
At the end of the test, community advocate Ken Leon-Guerrero of Guam Citizens for Public Accountability asked about the effectiveness of the vote-counting machines’ inbuilt write-in counters. But after deliberation with the commission, even he is confident in the integrity of the upcoming election.
“So with legal and the independent commissioner also reviewing the ballots with the member of the Republican Party and a member of the Democrat Party, we are very confident we will get an honest count,” Leon-Guerrero said.
With election day so close, Guam Election Commission Executive Director Maria Pangelinan reminds voters to be properly credentialed at the polls.
“Please bring a validly issued Photo ID. Those photo ID’s have to be government issue or Guam High School ID’s,” Pangelinan said. Pangelinan indicated that expired ID’s will be entertained, as long as they are official.