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GEC board discusses problems with primary

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 by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The tabulations may have been completed on Saturday, but the Guam Election Commission along with representatives from each of the political parties will be meeting early Monday morning to examine every ballot cast after one-sided ballots were discovered during Saturday's primary.

"What we wanted to do today is go over any issues that any of the members wanted to raise or the party officials," explained Maria Pangelinan, the GEC's executive director.

After clearing up an issue with a question over an absentee ballot and discussing overvotes and training for voter registrars for the general election, the Guam Election Commission took up discussion on the controversial issue that emerged during the primary election: the discovery of close 20 one-sided ballots.  During today's meeting Panagelinan was asked to describe the printing process from start to finish to determine what could have gone wrong.

Pangelinan explained that the ballots go through two different printers - the partisan ballots are ran four times, while non partisan ballots are ran twice. "The partisan ballots ran through the press four times for color and  the two sides,  for one side its color and text and same goes for the other side," she said.

During the meeting it was revealed GEC staff didn't allow enough time for the ink to dry before moving it to the next printer.  Pat Civille noted, "I'm trying to think how you go through four times and be blank?", to which a staffer replied, "We use two different machines and because we're using two different colors the red side runs on Machine A then the txt would run on Machine B so when we run the red first we bring it over to the next machine we'll run the text so  how some would be blank because their still wet from the first machine they may have stuck together and the machine picks up two ballots prints on one side and then it just runs through." Discussion about scheduling ensued.

The GEC board asked however why the problem wasn't caught when switching the ballots to the next machine. John Taitano asked about print counting procedures.

Board member Dot Chargualaf asked why didn't the precinct official spot the problem when they counted the ballots before the polls opened. "Wouldn't they have been able to catch that at the precinct level you know look at both sides? Or when they count they just count?" Pangelinan responded, "When they count in most cases they wouldn't be able to count or catch it because in most cases even the precinct officials as I saw them in training they only count by the corner so they just go like this and count in batches of 25."

The GEC has invited ten representatives from each political party to join them as the begin reviewing every ballot Tuesday morning.  Once this review begins the election commission will be able to gauge how serious the one-sided ballot problem really is. The review begins at 9am, in the meantime the GEC board's next meeting is scheduled for Thursday.  

As we reported all the candidates on the primary election ballot with the exception of two do not move forward to the general election.

Those two candidates were democrat Mathew Artero who unsuccessfully ran for delegate against incumbent Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, and Romeo Carlos who ran for senator under the Republican banner. The GEC board is aiming to certify the result by September 10.

REVIEW THE RESULTS FROM THE DECISION 2014 PRIMARY ELECTION

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