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GEC researching new tabulation machines

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It was last week when officials from Election Systems & Software wrote to the Guam Election Commission recommending that it discontinue further usage of its current tabulation machines.

According to GEC executive director Maria Pangelinan, although ES&S notes that the machines are repairable, it may be cost-prohibitive. She adds buying new equipment isn't as simple either.

"Well, we can go out and buy a whole new set of equipment and forget that we have $100,000 worth of ballot stock on hand and forget that we have parts of it that could work," she stated.

And should the GEC buy new equipment, she says public law requires GEC to purchase one with voter verification. The political parties meanwhile have chimed in as Democratic Party of Guam acting chairman Darryl Taggerty says he believes while its best to have reliable supported machines, the GEC needs to consider the timeframe because it may be difficult to procure and adequately install new machines by the next election. Republican Party of Guam chairman Mike Benito meanwhile says while the machines do work, there seems to be minor problems and wants to ensure every vote is counted. He adds it's important that we need to buy machines that will take us well into the future. Pangelinan in the meantime hopes to relay the concern while discussing the GEC's budget request on Monday during its budget hearing at 11am at the Guam Legislature.

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