GEC fields large amount of election complaints - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GEC fields large amount of election complaints

Posted: Jul 06, 2018 5:00 PM Updated:

We all know that politics is a strategic game, but is the game being played fairly? With a little over a month remaining until the primaries, the Guam Election Commission has received a substantial amount of complaints for potential candidates. It's issue election officials admit is unusual.

They say knowledge is power - so could newfound knowledge gained by voters be the reason for the recent slew in candidate complaints? Since May of this year, the Guam Election Commission has heard and had to answer complaints about some of this year's batch of candidates.

GEC Director Maria Pangelinan said, "The Guam Election Commission has probably not seen this many, has not had to address this many issues before the election."  Issues ranging from Mini-Hatch Act violations, forgeries, and more. This trend being possibly attributed to increased voter participation and education.

"Because the Guam Election Commission was fielding a lot of Mini-Hatch Act questions I think as early as May/June, for our candidate seminars we invited the Civil Service Commission so maybe a lot of questions are coming up because the candidates and supporters are learning what the Mini Hatch Act is all about," she continued.   

Mini-Hatch Act violations currently fall under the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission, who will only investigate formal complaints to their office. But that hasn't stopped the GEC from being the recipient of concerned letters and phone calls.

Regardless of these complaints, however, on Monday, the GEC Board had voted to ratify all candidates who had filed, finding them qualified to seek public office, prompting their next steps.

Pangelinan said, "The Guam Election Commission is in ballot production mode. We are putting together the final touches on the ballot design in terms of making sure that the names are accurate and the final touches on the formatting, as well."

But formal complaints will still be looked at if they do fall under the GEC's discretion. "We're still learning a lot of issues have come up that we have not dealt with in the past," she stated.

Overall, they do support and encourage the understanding of the election process by voters. "The more the voters know about the election the better off we are they can ask questions and we can answer as best we can," she said.

In the meantime, the GEC assures that operations are running smoothly as the primary election approaches. Additionally, off-island ballots are expected to be sent out on July 11.

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