GEC verifies bingo initiative signatures - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GEC verifies bingo initiative signatures

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - An initiative that would legalize for profit bingo exclusively at the former Guam Greyhound facility in Tamuning is one step closer to making it on the ballot. Over the past couple of weeks, the Guam Election Commission's staff has gone through thousands of signatures submitted in support of the for-profit bingo initiative.

"At this point in time, I just got word from the staff that we have finished verifying the petitions," noted executive director of the GEC Maria Pangelinan. Back in May its proponents, the Guam Japan Friendship Village, submitted its petitions to legalize for-profit bingo exclusively at the former Guam Greyhound facility.

According to Pangelinan, 4,713 signatures (10% of the number of registered voters at the time the petitions were submitted) have been verified by GEC staff. However, it's not a done deal just yet as the signatures now need to be certified by the Commission. 

"Then the clock starts ticking again," Pangelinan said.

She says the GEC will take into account a timeline leading up to the General Election in November, which includes legal counsel presenting a ballot title, seeing whether it has been certified 90 days before the election and then accepting the submittal of arguments for and against the initiative. "If there is more than one argument, the Commission with the assistance of the legal counsel picks the most strongest argument for and against I believe and then those arguments get put into a pamphlet and it gets mailed out to the voters," she said.

While we won't know for sure until it's certified by the Commission, just based on the signatures does it appear it will be on the General Election ballot? "Yes, it does - but again we cannot, I'm not the one to say it, it's the Commission itself that needs to say it and the legal counsel will help in preparing the timeline and then we'll go from there," she said.

And while it wasn't an easy task going through signatures, she says whether you're for or against the initiative, it's another way for the voice of the people to be heard. "So proponents can come up and they can do due process where they can propose initiatives so the hard work is worth it. If that many people believe this should go forth, then I'm very happy to be part of the process to validate it and to get it on the election," she said. 

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