Members of the Guam Election Commission spent nearly two hours yesterday scrutinizing the issues surrounding Saturday’s primary election, one of which was the discovery of misprinted ballots for the partisan election. The misprinted ballots were described as one-sided ballots on which voters could only choose candidates from one particular party. The other side of the misprinted ballots was blank. Correctly printed ballots were to have candidates of the Democratic Party on one side and Republican candidates on the other side. Voters were to vote only for candidates from one party. Joseph Mesa, GEC chairman, yesterday questioned the person in charge of printing the ballots in order to shed light on the issue. Program coordinator Joseph Eseke said that in producing the partisan ballots, the document ran four times in the printers. In setting up the printers, it was revealed that plates sometimes moved affecting the output. Eseke also mentioned the “sensitivity” of the printers in some elements in the ballot document such as the lines and ovals. He said GEC used one printer for the color and one printer for the text, which was black.
Maria Pangelinan, GEC executive director, said that before the printing procedure, the ballot document also went through a back-and-forth process in finalizing the design colors, and the text to be put in the document. She assured the commission that in each of these steps, the GEC had staffers that checked the output.
Pangelinan said the misprinted ballots were only found for the partisan election. During the election on Saturday, precinct officials provided a new ballot as replacement for any misprinted ballot turned in by a voter.
Seemingly confused by the information from Eseke and Pangelinan, Commissioner Joseph Mafnas sought clarification from the management. “So is it the paper (inventory) the problem or the machines?” asked Mafnas. Eseke said in his opinion, the printers seem to be the problem for the misprinted ballots as the equipment is kind of obsolete.
Some members yesterday suggested buying new paper stock or replacing the printers if necessary to make sure that misprinted ballots will not reoccur in the November election.