GEC considers mandates for amendment, referendums - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GEC considers mandates for amendment, referendums

Posted: Updated:
 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - While the Guam Election Commission prepares for the primary election in the next six weeks, they're also considering the possibility of an initiative or referendum being put before the voters.

For the past decade, GEC executive director Maria Pangelinan says every general election seemed to have one thing in common, as she said, "It seems like in every general election, there has been a proposal on the ballot."

That proposal as outlined in an initiative or referendum is simply what Pangelinan says is the "power of the people" specifically the voter. "So registered voters can get together to propose changes or addition to the law - how it's done is through an initiative or a referendum," she added.

This year's election will be the first to fully implement the new election reform law along with new rules to the initiative, referendum and legislative submission process. So what are some of the changes? "So even before petitions are passed out they have to have village meetings - 10 of them at least and of the ten at least six have to be in the most populated villages with registered voters<, she said.

Other new requirements includes submitting a financial disclosure report, clearly stating who are all the proponents of the measure, and a fiscal impact statement for the first year the proposal is implemented and four years after. "The goal is to have transparency," she said.

So when can someone submit an initiative or referendum? Pangelinan says the trigger point is the day its certified by the commission. "And that would be 90 days before the general election, so it has to be certified by august 6 to get on the November 4 ballot," she said.

August 6 happens to be two days after oral arguments are set to begin on the Guam Legislature's request for declaratory judgment with the Supreme Court over placing the medicinal marijuana question before voters in the general election. Pangelinan explained, "If the court decides that it shouldn't be on the ballot then proponents, registered voters, if they're interested would need to take it out to the people to decide if the people want it on the ballot - is that still enough time? What's it's looking at based on August 6 is when it needs to be certified, petitions needs to be signed and they need to be signed before certification, so it doesn't seem like there's enough time at this point for people to get signatures."

If the court rules in favor of the Guam Legislature, she says the GEC will then put the measure on the ballot. "Are we prepared? Yeah, we could be 2005 but at this point we're not, we don't have a budget for it and we probably will need more manpower in the event it comes at this point in time," she said.

For more information on initiatives, referendums or legislative initiatives, you can check http://gec.guam.gov or call the GEC at 477-9791. 

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