DENIED: commissioners vote down hand count request - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

DENIED: commissioners vote down hand count request

Posted: Sep 06, 2018 3:44 PM +10:00 Updated:

The request for a hand count fails. Election Commissioners met late Wednesday to discuss the latest concerns presented to them by the Aguon/Limtiaco gubernatorial team.

A call for a hand count is denied.  Alice Taijeron announced, "Official request to review and examine 2018 Guam primary election ballots, with legal counsel Vince Camacho saying, "With regard to this request we scoured the statue and in reviewing and coming to our recommendation, we looked at the entire Guam election laws and the application of the Sunshine Request Act."

Camacho citing Guam law, saying, "We take a look at the GEC statue and with regard to every single ballot, with regard to whether it's spoiled, duplicate, unused, invalid, all ballots are required to be sealed once the ballot has been defaced or unused or spoiled...so a ballots are required to be sealed...based upon Guam election statue which is clear it provides that the GEC shall not review any ballots expect upon a recount. So that tells us that no ballots are subject to inspection unless there is a recount and that's only for tabulating purposes. Until such time there is some kind of order that mandates GEC to open the ballots that are sealed I don't believe GEC has discretion to allow the inspection of sealed ballots."

The Aguon/Limtiaco team made the request for a hand count and examination of the primary ballots the same day the recount was being conducted. Election commissioners noted the tight deadlines and their restricted budget.

Commissioner Joaquin Perez expressing his concern, saying, "If we are going to do this again then we do this every election from here on. If that's the case then let's just get rid of the machines. I've been on this commission since 1982 and I've seen what could happen. One reason we bought the machines is to eliminate human handling of the ballots. Machines are very objective. Those scanners are more accurate than any eyeball any human being has. When people mismark their ballots we take of that through verification. If we are going to spend money to do this we are not going to meet our deadlines."

"Not once has a recount overturned the results of a primary election or the general."

Commissioner Jerry Crisostomo made the motion to approve the renewed recount request, Michael Perez backing it.  "A request has been made and I think it should be addressed - that's all, let's address it," Perez stated.

The vote came down to a split of three in favor and three opposed. GEC chair Taijeron with the tie breaker said, "I vote no for the recount. The motion fails."

The Aguon/Limtiaco team no doubt disappointed with the GEC's decision. Frank Aguon Jr. stating, "We are deeply humbled and thankful by the outpouring of support during this past week.  Alicia and I remain positive and will be discussing our next steps."

Meantime, no surprise here as the Leon Guerrero-Tenorio campaign is, once again, pleased with the GEC's vote.

No word yet from the Aguon/Limtiaco team what next steps they would be taking. The GEC is set to meet on September 10 to go over the absentee ballots before working towards certifying the primary results.

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