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GEC working to modernize the Guam voter experience

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44,842 - that's how many voters are registered with the Guam Election Commission as of the end of last month. And the agency is working to implement new laws that aim to not only modernize voter registration on Guam, but possibly increase the roster.

Executive director Maria Pangelinan says efforts to implement new laws regarding voter registration continue to be made. In fact, she recently returned from the National Association of State Election Directors' summer meeting where online registration was a major focus. "Some states have had online registration for up to 20 years, others are just starting, so it's a great time for Guam to reach out and get assistance from experts," she detailed. It was a few months ago when a trio of measures were signed into law that would not only allow for online voter registration, but allow people to register to vote when renewing your driver's license or Guam ID, along with pre-registration for 16-year-olds.

"We've made it very easy for the voters, and we now have probably across the nation, the most efficient and election processes," she said.

In the 2014 General Election, the GEC reported a 72% voter turnout - the lowest for a gubernatorial election in years. The GEC now is making contact with the Social Security Administration and Department of Motor Vehicle, along with trying to upgrade its systems. "We got to make sure the systems work together," Pangelinan noted. "With that, we've tapped into open source software and we're working on it."

The GEC has also reached out to the Guam Legislature by requesting for an additional 250,000 to hire more staff. "We have one systems and programming administrator and with this additional mandates I'm hoping to get additional assistance in that area," she added.

So when can voters expect to have these services available? "That's a question I want to let you know is possibly February 2016 in time for the 2016 elections," she said.

In the meantime, you can still register to vote at the GEC's offices in Hagatna. 

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