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Much work ahead for GEC before Primary

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - With five weeks until the Decision 2012 Primary Election, the Guam Election Commission has a lot of work ahead of them. During Monday's meeting, executive director Maria Pangelinan announced beginning August 2, in-office voting will commence at the GEC's Conference Room for those who can't make it to the polls on September 1 for valid reasons such as leaving off-island or due to disabilities.

Board members discussed problems experienced with early voting from the 2010 election and wanted assurance that GEC staff have a procedure and plan in place to handle the anticipated hundreds possibly thousands of early voters.  In-office voting ends on August 31.

The GEC meanwhile is still without an official polling place for the village of Umatac as its former polling place of F.Q. Sanchez Elementary School was deemed unacceptable because it has since become derelict after closing last year and without power and water. Pangelinan says she will re-approach village Mayor Dean Sanchez in helping choose a place. While the mayor's office was suggested as a polling place, board members noted there might be an intimidation factor, considering there is a heated mayoral race in the village.

While suggestions were discussed such as moving the polling place to another village, setting up an air conditioned container or using a canopy, no definitive decision was made.

As for the for-profit bingo initiative, the GEC expects to give an update to the initiative's proponents on or before August 6. Over 7,000 signatures have been looked over with close to 4,000 verified as of Monday evening. The GEC expects to finish going through signatures by Tuesday.

The Commission meanwhile is close to finalizing its list of 290 precinct officials with 280 applicants on board. The GEC, however, is still taking precinct official application forms to fill alternate slots as well.

Pangelinan notes that all ballot stock inventory - close to 50,000 - is now complete for the Primary Election.

The GEC will reconvene next Monday at 5:16pm.  

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