Special election for Agat vice mayor to be held in May
Friday, March 27th 2015, 3:37 PM ChST
In order to fill the vacancy left by the late Agat vice mayor Agustin Quintanilla, the Guam Election Commission will be holding a special election in less than two months that is already attracting several interested candidates.
The residents of the southern village should expect a special election in the next seven weeks. "It's being called for Saturday, May 16, from 7am to 8pm," explained Maria Pangelinan, executive director of the GEC. The agency held a special meeting Thursday night to address the vacancy left by Quintanilla, who passed away last week. Pangelinan added, "A law was passed last year and it says that if the vacancy occurs more than 240 days before the next general election, a special election is to be called by the commission."
According to the recent law, the GEC must call an election within 60 days from when the vacancy is left. Prior to the public law, the governor would simply appoint someone to fill the vice mayor vacancy. (Coincidentally, Quintanilla was the last exception in 2010.)
So what are the requirements to run for vice mayor? "By April 16th, a potential candidate must turn a $100 filing fee, a certification of qualification that says at the minimum that he's 21 years of age and resides and has been a voter of Agat for at least a year, has to give us 100 valid signatures, must not have been convicted of a felony or a crime or moral turpitude," she said.
Candidate packets were officially released at 4pm today out of respect of the late vice mayor's burial this afternoon. And with only 2,225 registered voters, Pangelinan is hoping for high voter turnout. "Because I'm hearing of an excellent slate of candidates to run for vice mayor, I'm hoping that because the people have that offer, we will have high voter participation and besides hopefully we increase the population of registered voters," she said.
This special election will also mark the first mayor or vice mayor election since the position was given a pay raise. Mayors now earn $75,000 a year with vice mayors $68,000.
And while she wasn't expecting an election until 2016, is Pangelinan prepared? "We're punching out the numbers, we're making all our Ts are crossed and our Is are dotted," she explained. "Last night when I was asked what would be the cost of the election, as I mentioned to all the different items, it comes up to about $60,000."
The special election will be held at Oceanview Middle School. As of this afternoon, only four people had picked up packets for the race.