Election reform meets mixed reactions

by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Monday, November 27, 2006

Senator Bob Klitzkie (R) and Senator Adolpho Palacios (D) were the only policymakers present during the public hearing for the former's Bill 383, a measure that would reform Guam's election process. Trini Torres, who is seeking another primary election, was in favor of Klitzkie's, bill but had some suggestions of her own, announcing, "I believe that all persons in the [Guam Election Commission] should be replaced and not merely transferred over to the new Bureau of Canvas and Appeals."

Torres says that the problems encountered in both the Decision 2006 primary and general elections are reasons enough to reform the entire election process and remove all persons currently working for the GEC. Joe Mesa has a lot of experience with elections and with the GEC, in particular formerly serving as a staff member, board member and even an executive director of the agency. Of his potential role, Torres said, "I think that there could be a conflict; I could see the two bucking heads - the administrator of elections who is appointed by the director of administration bucking heads with the members of the Bureau."

GEC board member Larry Ramirez did not have any testimony against the bill, but did not agree with some of the public comments that were submitted as potential additions to the bill. Among the array of his concerns was the proposed removal of the need for a primary election and/or the outright elimination of all GEC members. "I look at it you know that no matter what, in any election there will never be a perfect counting of the numbers it would be within 1% or 2% away," said Ramirez.

While those that showed up to testify in today's hearing expressed varied feedback to the bill, all seemed to be in agreement that something must be done to improve Guam's election process.

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