Guam – Although it is not on the Session agenda, lawamkers are expected to make an attempt to override the Governor’s veto of Bill 413 which is an election reform measure.
Senator Rory Respicio says the discrepancies found with the 2012 general election is proof that election reform is necessary. The Guam Election Commission had to conduct a recount by hand for certain villages. In Agat Senator Adolpho Palacios received zero votes which was a red flag. After the recountPalacios was found to have received over 200 votes in that village. Then in Agana heights it was found that the tabulators had double counted votes. Two of the GEC’s tabulation machines broke down right before the election. The GEC was able to get one of the two repaired just in time to count ballots.
“I believe Clynt that if we had the election reform bill signed into law we would’ve saw a very different process and to the credit of the Guam Election Commission they did the best that they can given the limited resources that they have and so this bill would also force more resources to the Guam Election Commission and also mandate the kind of tabulation machines that they’re supposed to purchase,” said Senator Respicio.
The election reform bill or bill 413 was already passed by lawmakers but vetoed by the governor. The governor was particularly opposed to a section in the bill that would require an audit of the 2010 general election. “In order to move forward sometimes you really have to look back and determine with respects to the 2010 election there should be an audit in that election and to see where those discrepancies are and make notation of it and then the voters will be able to move forward from there,” said Senator Respicio.
Bill 413 would also bring back a form of electronic voting but only if it has a paper trail. Respicio says this will reduce the number of spoiled ballots. “So you can use a voting machine to vote but the ballot will be printed and that paper will be put into the same box as if they were if they voted by hand or voted by machine so that there’s an audit trail,” said Senator Respicio.
Respicio says he will make a motion to override the veto of bill 413 during tomorrow’s session. Today lawmakers also held a committee on rules meeting to decide what bills to place on the agenda. These bills include Speaker Judi Won Pat’s bill 509 which would provide for more financial aid to students attending UOG. Also on the agenda is Senator Judi Guthertz’s bill 445 which would require the governor to empanel the modernization and rightsizing commission in order to review Guam’s laws and make recommendations to repeal laws that are redundant or found unnecessary. Another measure that made the cut is Senator Tom Ada’s bill 462 or the “Derived Veterans Benefits for Spouses, Surviving Spouses and Legal Guardians Act”. Session begins tomorrow at 9am. A total of 13 bills and four appointments are on the session agenda.