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Decision 2014 is closer to closure

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - While it wasn't the exact audit they had asked for, the Guam Election Commission went through with the request by the Carl Gutierrez-Gary Gumataotao campaign for a partial hand recount today.  The results of the general election cannot be certified until all administrative complaints and concerns from the election have been addressed.

This includes one by the Gutierrez-Gumataotao campaign chairperson Joaquin Perez who raised concerns over the outcome of the election. "The energy that I saw and felt out there just belied the results, it just didn't jive as far as I was concerned," he explained.

It was last week when Perez wrote the GEC requesting for a manual audit not only concerned by the large margin won by Calvo-Tenorio but issues with the GEC's new tabulation machines. During a meeting Thursday, the former chairman of the GEC stated the machines do not have audit capabilities. "I'll be very honest with you, I don't trust these machines," said Perez, "and it's not a accusation that someone tampered with the machines or its not an accusation that people were playing with the ballots, but its just simply that the record shows that the machines malfunction."

GEC legal counsel Jeff Cook says based on statute the GEC cannot conduct an actual audit, but instead can review the ballots to determine if the count was accurate pursuant to commissioners recommendation. A motion was then made by democrat commissioner Dot Chargualaf to do a ballot reconciliation of the votes for the gubernatorial race for 10 precincts. It was eventually amended to four precincts instead. Independent commissioner Pat Civille says the GEC needs to speak with one voice and consider the public's confidence in the election process.

He said, "And I think has somewhat drawn into question and I think a manual recount of several precincts of the gubernatorial slate might allay some of the fears there are about the accuracy of our tabulating machines."

The motion passed unanimously by all seven commissioners. Less than 24 hours later, the ballot reconciliation began with party representatives sorting through the ballots. The precincts counted were 7a in Merizo, 13a in Agana Heights, and 18e and 18f in Dededo. After two and a half hours, the ballot reconciliation was completed showing no big difference in the results. Calvo-Tenorio still won all four of these precincts.

Republican Party chairman Mike Benito said, "We're very confident in the work the GEC has done. We did a recount in 2010, nothing changed, here we are again in 2014, again nothing has changed at the end of the day, I hope they just understand that this is a mandate of the people and the governor still won every single district and it was a very wide margin and I can understand why they were concerned by being beaten so badly but again at the end of the day this just proves the results were correct."

GEC executive director Maria Pangelinan says she is finalizing a report with the total results. That report will be presented Saturday morning when the GEC reconvenes to possibly certify the results. 


Lieutenant Governor candidate Gary Gumataotao tells KUAM News he is pleased the commission took the time to address the issues. He further congratulates the Eddie Calvo and Ray Tenorio for winning the election.

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