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GEC encouraging off-island voters to register for absentee ballots

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The Guam Election Commission is encouraging registered voters who are off-island or serving overseas to take part in this year's election process.

Executive director Maria Pangelinan says the voice of those registered voters living off-island or serving overseas are equally as important as voters here at home. "Their vote should be heard because most of them, or all of them I think intend to come back here so laws and how the government is run, will affect them when they come back and live on our island," she said.

And with weeks remaining until Super Tuesday, the GEC has already begun the process of sending ballots off-island. "So as of September 19 and September 20 which was a Saturday, we sent out over 150 ballots off-island," she said.

UOCAVA and off-island voters who applied for absentee ballots during the primary election automatically carry over to the general election. For those new applicants, she notes, they cannot be registered in both the US mainland and Guam. "It's illegal to be registered in two jurisdictions so part of the process of executing voter registration for the Guam Election Commission is to ask to the potential registrant if he or she is registered in another jurisdiction," she explained.

Another requirement is off-island absentee voters must mark their ballot in the presence of an officer. "They must do it in front of a notary, so there is affidavit envelope that needs to be notarized for the off-island voters," she explained.

This can also include a court clerk, an election commission clerk, or a school registrar if you're a student. This requirement however does not apply to any active military personnel and their dependents or citizens residing outside of the u-s and its territories. Pangelinan in the meantime says off-island voters can request for an absentee ballot now and the turnaround reply is 48-hours. Absentee ballots can be sent either through the post office, faxed or sent electronically through e-mail. All ballots however must be sent back only through the postal courier. Should you wish to receive an off-island absentee ballot, go to gec.guam.gov, click on the tab that says "absentee voters" and download the application. 

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