Bill 45-34, an act to remove the primary election from the Guam Code Annotated was sent back to committee during session yesterday. Speaker Benjamin Cruz ordered that the bill, also known as the “Election Reform Act of 2017,” be sent back after several issues were raised about the provisions of the bill. “With these issues, we may need to completely restudy the whole bill,” he said. Prior to the decision, lawmakers deliberated on a bill provision concerning the election of the public auditor following Sen. Joe San Agustin’s motion to amend the bill to remove the provision that refers to a runoff election.
Sen. Fernando Esteves asked if there is a runoff provision in the Organic law for the OPA. “We want to make sure that if we are removing this out, that there is another provision to ensure majority for that office,” he said.
Sen. James Espaldon responded, stating that the OPA is nonpartisan and different from the Office of the Governor. “Since this is nonpartisan, the top two (vote) getters will go into the general elections,” he said.
The amended version of Bill 45-34, authored by Sen. San Agustin, seeks to eliminate primary elections on Guam. San Agustin emphasized the cost-saving goal of the bill, noting that primary elections are paid for by the public through appropriations made to the Guam Election Commission. Eliminating the primary elections would generate savings, he said.