GEC using new budget to cover primary election costs

A BUZZ OF ACTIVITY: Precinct officials file into the University of Guam Calvo Field House in Mangilao to begin tabulating ballots cast during the 2022 primary election Aug. 27. The recently enacted government of Guam budget law includes funding to cover costs incurred during the election. Jonah Benavente/The Guam Daily Post

The primary election went "as smooth as it could get" from the perspective of Guam Election Commission executive director Maria Pangelinan.

"I have a permanent staff that are very seasoned. Our temporary staff we started picking them up in June so they did a fantastic job," said Pangelinan, who after the votes were counted at the University of Guam Calvo Field House Sunday morning, continued working until the ballots were secured at the commission's office.

For the length of time it took to count the votes, Pangelinan told The Guam Daily Post the two ballot sheets could have been attributed to the delay.

"For the primary elections we have two ballot sheets so that means we have to count twice as many (and) put twice as many through the machine, which takes longer," added Pangelinan who couldn't recall the wrap-up of past elections but has heard it did take a little longer.

Low turnout

Pangelinan's overall feeling about the elections was related to the low turnout.

"If you ask me what feeling stands out, it's disappointment in terms of the voter participation. Only 40% of those that are registered showed up," she said.

According to the unofficial results, 23,261 ballots were cast in this primary election which has been more than in previous years despite the percentage of registered voters participation being low.

"I think the percent gives is a little skewed because a lot of our newly registered voters came from DMV," Pangelinan said of the motor-voter registration that allows residents to register the same time they renew their driver's license or Guam ID.

Next steps

The GEC board will meet on Sept. 12 to finalize the results and decide whether to include provisional ballots which were given to voters who were not registered and off-island voters.

In the meantime, any administrative complaints, which Pangelinan said she was unaware of as of Monday, will be resolved.

Pangelinan also wants to take the time to find out more ways to get the rest of the population to vote.

"Let's figure out how to get the rest of the island to vote. That's what I want to say. How do we get our young ones, how do we get our island voters to vote? That's what I want to know. What's it going to take for them to come out?" Pangelinan said before adding she looks to the political parties and candidates to encourage their supporters to vote.

To see the breakdown of voters by village or precinct click the following: