iVotronic terminals 86'ed by senators

by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It seems that the Guam Election Commission might have one less problem to deal with as they inch closer towards next week's Super Tuesday for the Decision 2006 General Election. Senators of the 28th Guam Legislature decided by a 12-0-2 vote to pass Bill 355, which would prohibit the use of the controversial iVotronic electronic balloting terminals. (Senators Frank Aguon, Jr. and Dr. Mike Cruz were excused from session to participate in the KUAM/Pacific Daily News "Head-to-Head gubernatorial debate at the University of Guam Field House.)

Session resumed this morning with senators discussing a recently introduced bill that could have a huge effect on the Decision 2006 General Election. Bill 355, if now signed into law by Governor Felix Camacho, would suspend the use of electronic voting machines in local elections until their use can be demonstrated to be as accurate and effective as traditional paper ballots.

Senator Rory Respicio (D) authored the bill and told KUAM News his legislative intent was "very clear about how voters where disenfranchised because of all the problems surrounding iVotronic machines, but more importantly experts have concluded that these machines have been easily manipulated."

This is one area of the legislation of great concern to his Democrat colleague, Senator Judi Won Pat. Specifically, she shows interest in the area of the measure that states that experts across the country have proven that the machines can easily be manipulated to give the desired results. Senator Won Pat, who did vote for the bill, did indicate that some of the language in the legislative intent section could sway Superior Court Judge Arthur Barcinas' decision on the election case currently before him.

"I don't want to be the ones to make the decision for the judge," she explained. "The judge has to make the decision, the judge has to listen to all the arguments - that's what the whole justice system is all about, and the Legislature is to pass legislation and that's it."

Senator Respicio, on the other hand, defended the need for the language in the legislative intent section. "If you just have a section that prohibits the use of the machines without the prior section, which explains why you want to do that, then certainly some people might see this as an anti-technology measure," he said.

But at the end of the day, senators saw fit to pass the terse bill, effectively negating the use of iVotronic machines in local elections.

See the finalized version of Bill 355 as passed by the 28th Guam Legislature at BobsOffice.org

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