Guam - We haven't even had an election yet, and the drama continues. Now that the ballot design has finally been approved, it appears the Guam Election Commission has encountered another problem - this time a shortage of ballot stock to print close to 50,000 ballots for the Decision 2012 Primary Election.
Dozens of boxes lay open at the GEC this morning containing packs of ballot stock for the primary. However, according to executive director Maria Pangelinan, it still isn't enough. "In the meantime, we need to order more ballot stock for the primary election," she said.
As discussed during last night's board meeting, the GEC won't be able to obtain any more ballot stock until it pays off its outstanding invoices of $74,000 to Election Systems & Software, dating back to the 2008 election. "The other thing that happened, why is wasn't worried about it before is they were going to give us a credit for the equipment that we have, but because there is no use for the equipment, the credit was canceled. So if we had gotten the credit we would have taken care of most of the outstanding balance," she said.
Pangelinan says she is working with the Governor's Office, namely the Department of Administration and the Bureau of Budget & Management Research, to see where they can find the funding. Meanwhile, she says there is enough ballot stock to print for the UOCAVA voters which it will send out tomorrow along with the ballot stock they have for now.
"We have 58 precincts, so each precinct has codes, so we have an inventory of what we have and some precincts, thankfully the smaller ones, are where we're short at but we have enough for the UOCAVA voters," added Pangelinan.
Meanwhile, the GEC's board also discussed the request from Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks regarding cancelling her election in the primary because she is uncontested and to save close $50,000 in printing costs. This new option would save them about $3,000. "The staff and I submitted a new ballot," the executive director noted, "We needed to get the Commission's approval and instead of using ballot stock we will use paper and we will offset printing and will print it and it will lower the cost of production."
She adds the GEC still has to follow the law as the OPA race will be on a separate ballot both in the primary and general election. The GEC meanwhile will send out the ballots for UOCAVA voters tomorrow.