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Nearly 300 precinct officials will learn how to manage an election

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - They're considered the people who determine whether the voter has a positive experience at the polls and starting next week, the Guam Election Commission will hold its first set of trainings for hundreds of precinct officials.

"You know, with every single transaction, the most important person in any transaction is the customer and in this case it's the precinct officials who meet, greet and service the voter of every single polling place of the island," said Maria Pangelinan, executive director for the GEC. And for the 290+ precinct officials for this year's primary election, next week they'll receive the 411 on everything they need to know to cater to the over 47,000 registered voters on island.

"So we do it Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays," Pangelinan added. "They are three-hour trainings." She says the trainings are mandatory and should any of the precinct officials fail to attend, they'll select the next individual on the list of alternates. So what will the training entail? "In the training we will have hands on training where we have absolutely exact ballot supply boxes we won't have ballots unfortunately but we will mirror the counting of ballots to prepare the opening of the polling sites we will have the precinct handbook with us so we can go through that as well," she added.

It was just last week when the GEC completed the precinct official handbook consistent with the new election reform law. That very law also increased the pay for precinct officials to $350 per election.  Aside from the pay, she says every precinct official should value their importance to Guam's election. "They are the ones that determine whether the voters have a positive experience so that the voter can come back to exercise the fundamental right," she explained.

She adds alternates are just as important and need to attend the training as things do happen on Election Day that result in officials not being able to show up. The first training takes place Monday, July 14 starting at 5:30pm in the GEC Conference Room. Monday's training will be for precinct officials representing Hagatna, Asan-Maina, Piti and Agat.
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