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GEC board reviewing whose terms are expired

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by Janjeera Hail

Guam - The Guam Election Commission's Subcommittee on Complaints last night decided it will be forwarding information to the AG's Office based on suspicion of fraud from at least two precincts, but that announcement was overshadowed by the revelation that nobody really knows for sure who is on the agency's board of directors.

With two complaints heading to the Attorney General's Office for review, the heat quickly turned to the GEC board and whether certain members terms were legit.  Democrat member Josh Tenorio told KUAM News, "It's not clear there's some work that needs to be...one of the reasons why I suspended making certain motions tonight because we want to get to the bottom to see where to be fair to see where everybody stands and what they're legal status is. You know the Guam Election Commission is made up equally of democrats and republicans who together select a seventh member. It's one of those things that we need to know."

As KUAM News reported Tuesday, Gutierrez-Aguon team Attorney David Lujan filed court documents alleging Republican commissioners Martha Ruth, Joe Mesa, chairperson John Taitano and independent member Robert Cruz were not properly appointed or reappointed by the governor.  Lujan wrote, "The terms of the 'commissioners' in question remained expired at the time of the initial declaration of results on November 3, 2010 and the subsequent declaration of results on November 6, 2010, and at the time of the issuance of the certificates of election on or about November 9, 2010." 

In response, GEC legal counsel Cesar Cabot told KUAM News there is an acting holdover capacity provision in Guam law that allows GEC board members to serve 90 calendar days plus 3 legislative days beyond their terms' expiration.  Additionally, Cabot noted that the certification of the election results was a unanimous decision by all of the board members.

He further said, "Term has not expired I was appointed on October 20th and I believe the people who brought it up and questioned the validity of my sitting on the commission based it on that. I was sworn in January 21, and so the 2 years could begin from there technically I have until January 21, 2011 if you based it on the October 20. It would have expired on October 20, but I have three months to sit on the commission until another member is appointed.

"I understand there's nothing concrete I understand my term might have expired if so I need to go to the process of being reappointed, but I think the question is in some people's minds is whether the action the board has taken whether invalidated and I think not because it only requires four votes for example to certify and there's more than I think we had six members here so that question is really moot."

The board reconvenes next Wednesday to continue dialogue on the matter as well as discussion on election complaints.

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