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Some issues linger from primary election

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The primary election may be over, but the Guam Election Commission still has some issues it has to address before any of the results are officially certified. And the GEC began the review of thousands of ballots this morning following the discovery of a few one-sided printed ballots.

Just how serious was the issue of one-sided printed ballots discovered last Saturday? That's what executive director Maria Pangelinan hoped to find out today. "There could be, we found one in our first process we have five teams going and so one of the teams found one in Agat I believe and then I saw another one in another precinct over there," she said.

We should note at least one of these ballots was blank on the republican side. As we reported, the GEC had initially received reports of at least 20 one-sided printed ballots on Saturday's primary election that were missing the Democrat side. Based off today's review, there could be more. Part of today's review process is to look out for one-sided printed ballots. Five tables were set up each with one GEC staff member and two reps from both respective political parties.

Ballots were removed from ballot boxes and counted by turning each ballot so all observers see both sides. There were a total of 21,434 ballots cast. And pursuant to the new election reform law, today's review process also involved counting all write-in votes, something Pangelinan says is challenging. "That's going to take a little longer in one precinct there were 15 write-ins so imagine flipping the ballots and then noting the write-ins and making sure what we know is exactly what's on the ballot, so that's going to take a little bit," she said.

Based off the un-official results, there were 696 write-in votes. Meanwhile it was during the commission's meeting Monday where GEC staff explained the printing error. So what does the GEC plan to do next to prevent such errors to occur during the general election? "That's a hard one to deal with there are options and probably the better options are little more spending in that we can take real blank ballots, but we don't have ballot stock like that, all our ballot stocks have coding and timing marks so the ideal would be to go digital and print it on a plain ballot stock, but we're still looking into that," she said.

She adds once this cast ballot review is completed, the GEC will go back and further review the existing printing process. "Counting the ballots is already a time consuming process, because we have 58 precincts and we have to count two ballots types, so that's something that we can do," she said.

The GEC printed around 100,000 ballots for the primary election and expects to print more for the general election as more voters come into register. "We'll go through this process and see where it takes us," he said.

The review of ballots will continue Wednesday. The GEC plans on certifying the results at the earliest on September 10.
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