Monday, September 06, 2010

Governor: Vote on Nov. 2 Over 4,150 ballots spoiled

Governor: Vote on Nov. 2 Over 4,150 ballots spoiled

TUESDAY, 07 SEPTEMBER 2010 04:00

GOVERNOR Felix Camacho says the low voter turnout during last Saturday’s primary is disappointing and that this should not be the case when the island observes its general elections this Nov. 2.

“My advice is to those who didn’t vote. You don’t have the right to complain. You can make a difference and if you missed the primary make sure you register for the general (elections) because this is going to be an extremely important period in the history of our island,” said the governor who is scheduled to leave his office after serving for a term of eight years.

Only 29,135 or over 58 percent of Guam’s 50,033 registered voters cast their votes during the Sept. 4 primary and a significant number of their ballots were considered spoiled.

Camacho said Guam’s electorate should seriously get involved in this year’s election because of its huge impact on their future.

“I’ve done a lot of work in my time to set up for the buildup, to lay the foundation of work and there’s so much going on that whoever takes over is going to be involved in the implementation and it’s critical that the island selects the right leader. Make your voice count and be part of the process,” he further said.

According to the Guam Election Commission, the spoiled/crossover ballots totaled 4,150.

Camacho said it’s unfortunate that there’s that many spoiled ballots.

Speaker Judith Won Pat said there were some contributing factors for the low turnout, including the weather.

“A lot of people come out at the last minute and we normally see that at the polls and candidates merge in one area because there is so much going on. We noticed that didn’t happen this time because the rain discouraged a lot of people,” she said.

Another factor she said was the fact that the Democratic Party has only one team for the gubernatorial race compared to the GOP’s two.

“It really was more on the Republican side because that’s where the real contest was at and all the time we know there are more Democratic votes than Republican votes, but because it’s a Republican gubernatorial primary, that’s where the numbers were,” she added. “(Also) I think what helped the numbers really are the Democratic votes from those that went and voted on the Republican side.”

As for the spoiled ballots, Won Pat believes the election commission needs to reassess the information on the ballot and change the format.

“Somehow the message is not getting out to the people that the primary election is really a process to eliminate candidates who are going to the general election. It has to be made clear that residents have to vote for one party only,” she said.

Senator Rory Respicio thinks the fact that there’s only one candidate for the U.S. delegate race—Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo of the Democratic Party--may have confused voters

“That’s always what we’ve seen in the past,” said Respicio. “The Guam Election Commission is going to have to figure what we can do by law to prevent these spoiled ballots.”

Senator Judith Guthertz, who came in number six in the Democrat senatorial race, felt residents, especially Democrats, are waiting for the general elections to come out and vote.

“I’m looking forward to the general elections and it will be exciting; particularly the gubernatorial because it’s going to be exciting. You have two prominent teams who are going to be visible,” she said.

Also surprised at the low turnout was attorney general candidate Lenny Rapadas.

“Maybe some of these people didn’t vote and they assumed that I’m going to do well. I want to call those people out and make sure that if they didn’t vote, they should come out. And the people who didn’t vote for me, I’d like to talk to them and find out what I can do to change their mind,” Rapadas said.

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