Next election could run faster and smoother if the Guam Election Commission can purchase new tabulators. During last year’s General Election, the GEC had problems with at least three of its four tabulators. Those problems drew attention to the age of the machines, and the GEC has since looked at whether it would be feasible to keep using them, Director Maria Pangelinan said. The four tabulators are based on technology from the 1980s, according to Pacific Sunday News files. And Pangelinan estimates the machines are at least 20 years old and have been well-used throughout those years. Pangelinan said correspondence with the vendor found that repairing the machines would cost about $35,000 each. She said the election commission decided that it would be too costly to repair the old machines. As a result, the commission is requesting information to purchase new tabulator machines.
Pangelinan said GEC didn’t request money for the new tabulators in the submitted budget, but did tell the Legislature that she would come back to request the funds if necessary. She said she’s hopeful they can purchase new tabulators before next year’s election.
One of the challenges is finding a vendor that will work with Guam and one that sells a mobile tabulator, she said. The GEC needs mobile tabulators because the counting is done at the University of Guam field house rather than at the GEC office.
Pangelinan said the election count requires a lot of space and requires the tabulators be moved. Most tabulators stay in one space and don’t need to be mobile, she said.