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Super Saturday: turnout low at precincts

by Michele Catahay

Guam - Voter turnout was low for today's special election. Six candidates are vying for a spot in the 30th Guam Legislature following the resignation of former senator Matt Rector.  Super Saturday wasn't your usual election day on island.

While there were individuals a few campaigning outside the fences of precincts throughout Guam, it's apparent that not too many people have exercised their right to vote this time around. Six senatorial candidates are hoping to fill the senatorial vacancy - Democrats Sarah Thomas-Nededog, Martin Benavente, Art De Oro, and Roque Aguon; and Republicans Tony Ada and William Sarmiento.

Rector stepped down in January after a KUAM News investigation revealed that he did not disclose criminal charges against him in California prior to running in Decision 2008. Today, Guam Election Commission Executive Director John Blas says it was consistently slow all day and they haven't encountered any issues as he made his rounds at all the precinct polling stations.

At Wettengel Elementary School in Dededo, resident Cesar Calzada says he woke up early to vote, saying he wants to see a new face in the Guam Legislature.  "Something fresh and new, not the typical politician - that should be a good example or train for the next election. We should vote for new faces," he explained.

He says he took the time out to vote today and says other residents should too for the future of the children and the community. It was the same at Agana Heights Elementary School. Precinct 13 inspector Maria Untalan says for the last three terms, she's worked during Election Day, but hasn't seen this little people coming out to exercise their right to vote.  "We had the other last special election for Speaker [Tony] Unpingco and it was good. This one here is very slow," she told KUAM News.

Untalan also added, "I guess it's because they're only going to vote one vote so I guess they know it's fast so by 4 to 6pm, it should pick up fast."

Precinct inspector Fermon Unpingco says typically, more people come out to vote for gubernatorial candidates. He says not too many people show interest when they have to vote for only one seat, noting, "It's typically slow. I think they don't think it's important, I guess, as the upcoming gubernatorial race. There's only six months left."

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