GEC catches double voting, 2 could face felony charges

EARLY VOTER: A voter fills out his ballot during early in-office voting on Oct. 5 at the Guam Election Commission in Hagåtña. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Guam Election Commission officials on Thursday night said they caught two individuals who voted for the second time in the 2020 general elections, prompting a referral to the attorney general for prosecution.

Anyone found voting twice or attempting to vote twice could face a charge of third-degree felony, GEC counsel Vince Camacho said.

GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said upon reconciliation of the early voting on Oct. 8, they found out that two curbside voters had already voted curbside on Sept. 19, when early voting for the 2020 general election opened.

Pangelinan said they immediately notified the Office of the Attorney General.

GEC Chairman Mike Perez said the commission should enhance public education, warning voters that if they're caught attempting to double-vote or if they voted twice, not only will their vote not be counted but they could be prosecuted for a felony.

They also immediately changed the procedures for curbside voting, effective Oct. 9, to prevent recurrence.

Besides vetting for the person's name and voter registration before handing the ballot to a curbside voter, GEC now also vets whether the person trying to vote curbside already voted by checking the system in the GEC office on the third floor.

While this takes additional minutes for the curbside voting process for the commission to make sure the person hadn't voted yet, GEC commissioners said it's needed.

Those who vote on the third floor of GEC are vetted promptly, since all the documents needed to verify a voter's identity and voting record are readily accessible.

Early voting

More than 6,000 have voted in person ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.

On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the early voting satellite location will be Okkodo High School in Dededo. No appointment is needed.

At least 324 homebound voters were already served, and 150 more will be served in the next few days, Pangelinan said.

Guam expanded this year's early voting window to allow for a safe and still robust voting despite the COVID-19 pandemic. By voting early, up to Oct. 30, voters don't have to wait in long lines or crowded areas on Election Day.

People who want to vote in person from Monday to Friday can call GEC at 477-9791 to set an appointment. No voter will be turned away when they show up at GEC without prior appointment.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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