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GEC conducts test run of election machines

Posted: Updated:
 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Tuesday morning the polls will open at 7am and close at 8pm. So with Super Tuesday less than 24 hours away, is the Guam Election Commission prepared?

But even before polls officially open and you can cast your vote, the GEC wants to ensure the tabulation machines are working properly. And as they do for every election, the GEC conducted a first test run Sunday afternoon that encountered some challenges. "The three machines - 2,3 and 4 - are not reading the same, and maybe one more sensitive than the other," explained executive director Maria Pangelinan.

She says all three tabulation machines were tested - the same three that were purchased a few months ago and first used in the primary election. The inconsistent results were attributed to when the machines were first transported from the GEC offices in Hagatna to the UOG Calvo Fieldhouse. Election Systems & Software Consultant Steven Wang says as the machines are moved, they need to be requeued and accumulated to lighting conditions.

"Mainly the humidity and the light conditions because these are bifurcated optical lenses, where the light shines off of the ballot, it needs to be as tuned as the light conditions, and also, when transport, you also have dust and moisture and things like that so they need to be cleaned off real well," he stated.

The GEC held another test election today and it appears the second go-around proved effective. "All the machines are now stable and they've been adjusted and we've done the preventative maintenance and all three sets of results from all three machines are all the same," Pangelinan said.

But could we see this problem occur again tomorrow? "The machines are going to stay right where they're at - we're not going to change anything about the environment here at the Fieldhouse, and the Guam Police Department will be here to make sure that that doesn't change," she added.

But aside from the machines, is the GEC ready for the election? "We are doing what we can to prepare and I believe the staff has been doing a fantastic job getting ready," she said.

The GEC in the meantime continues to field calls for homebound voting that goes up to Election Day. The GEC is also prepared to meet at both 11am and 3pm Super Tuesday to address any administrative complaints or any issues that may arise on Election Day. 
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