GEC plans $150,000 special election - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GEC plans $150,000 special election

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by Janjeera Hail

Guam - Calling a special election is one thing, funding it is a different story.  It took two board meetings and a mountain of correspondence from the Guam Legislature and Adelup just to get the Guam Election Commission to declare a special election - actually holding one is a whole new ball game as the GEC must come up with the money to fund it.

Chairperson of the Legislative Committee on Appropriations, Senator Ben Pangelinan (D), says the $150,000 price tag the GEC's attached to it is too high. And besides, the GEC already has enough money to pay for it. Pangelinan saying the GEC can use the money they would plan to use in September to pay for the election in March.

"I think its going to cost less than $150,000, but for funding purposes when we did the budget for 2010, we included the amount for conducting the primary election for this year which is of course is in September which is prior to the end of the fiscal year," said Pangelinan.

He adds they can find the funding for the September primary later.

GEC Executive Director John Blas says that for the time being, that's the most logical solution. But he'll have to wait for official guidance from the Legislature until he moves forward.  "If Senator Pangelinan is saying I can use the funding to conduct the special election without having to violate any budget law by taking funds to use it for a special election," he noted.

In the meantime, candidates are already approaching the GEC in anticipation of the March 20 special election.  Tony Charfaurous is the campaign chair for potential candidate Roque Aguon, and told KUAM News, "His decision to run was actually for the primary and the general election, but since this is an opportunity and they're having a special election, I think he should join the fray of candidates."

But it'll still be a few days before the candidates' packets are ready. Blas added that they need to adjust the current packets to be specific for the senatorial race. He anticipates they'll be ready by the middle of next week.

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