We’re less than a year away until the 2016 primary election, and the Guam Election Commission is taking steps to ensure every voter including individuals with disabilities can cast their vote independently with the use of new technology. While they continue to make progress, the GEC is still not fully compliant with federal accessibility requirements. “We have assistive technology packets throughout all the 21 polling places at every precinct, but we still don’t, if a person who cannot see, comes into vote, they still cannot vote independently,” said executive director Maria Pangelinan. She says that may change as the commission is currently looking into using a new ballot marking device to help people cast their vote privately and independently. It’s called the Election Systems & Software’s AutoMark system.
More than $246,000 in legal services and $12,500 in commissioner stipends is among the debt the Guam Election Commission hopes to wipe clean. The commission last month requested an appropriation of about $371,000 for the coming fiscal year that would go toward paying debt accrued in prior years. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said she recently reached out to Sen. Rory Respicio to follow up on the request, but the senator is off island. Respicio is chairman of the committee that oversees the commission.
Just as the Guam Election Commission prepares for a special election next month, they’re also preparing for future elections and ways to improve the voting system on Guam. GEC executive director Maria Pangelinan says her goal has always been to provide fair and honest elections locally. And next week, she’ll be attending a national conference to help do just that. “One of the other things I want to do while I’m there is to see how other states conduct the election, and with all the research and all the people that will be there, it’s a great way to network and learn what everyone else is doing,” she said.
The Guam Election Commission has continued to research programs suitable for the implementation of an online voter registration portal. That task began prior to the passage of two registration reform bills, which now await the governor’s approval. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said the commission has been researching programs since January when freshman Sen. Mary Camacho Torres, R-Santa Rita, introduced measures aimed at modernizing and streamlining Guam’s voter registration process.
Republican and Democratic Party representatives, working with the Guam Election Commission, yesterday, found two more improperly printed ballots during their ongoing review of the ballots from Saturday’s Primary Election. The ballots are supposed to be double-sided, with Republican candidates on one side and Democratic candidates on the other. Voters in the open primary were allowed to choose either the Republican or Democratic side, but nearly two dozens ballots were missing one side. Democratic Party officials have said the Democratic sides are missing, but Election Commission officials have declined to identify which sides are missing.
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.
The Guam Election Commission has new voting tabulators and is gearing up for the Aug. 30 Primary Election. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said the three tabulators arrived Aug. 1 and the staff started training on Monday. The Legislature in June appropriated $134,250 to buy a new ballot tabulation system and $48,500 for ballot stock and coding services. The four tabulators the election commission had were old and outdated and caused some problems during the last election in 2012.
Lawmakers went into back to back sessions today to discuss a pair of bills – the first of which would address funding to purchase new tabulation equipment for the Guam Election Commission. “Si yu’os ma’ase to all of them for their support,” said Guam Election Commission executive director Maria Pangelinan. She refers to swift action by lawmakers today on addressing funding for new tabulation machines. It was last week when Bill 334 lapsed into law appropriating $206,000 from the Supplemental Appropriation Revenue Fund for the purchase of the machines along with ballot stock and coding services. However BBMR recently informed her that there is actually no funding in the SAR account. “So because of that, the only option they would have is to see about using fiscal year funding that was brought up to the attention of the commissioners and we all know that the commissioners and I don’t want to have a deficit at the end of the fiscal year,” she said.
Guam: Bill would fund new vote tabulators: GEC director expects machines in July or August | Pacific Daily News
The Guam Election Commission could soon get new tabulators if a recently passed bill becomes law. Bill 334, passed by the Legislature on Monday, appropriates $134,250 to buy a ballot tabulation system and $48,500 for ballot stock and coding services for the Guam Election Commission. Guam Election Commission Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said she hopes the commission will have new voting tabulator machines by the primary election on Aug. 30.
The Guam Election Commission is getting new tabulators in preparation for the upcoming General Election. During a meeting on Thursday, commissioners voted to approve the GEC’s Invitation for Bid committee’s recommendation to award a bid for new machines to Election Systems & Software for new voting tabulators. The company was the lowest bidder out of the three that submitted bids, said Maria Pangelinan, election commission executive director. The other bidders were Hart InterCivic and Dominion Voting Systems. Election Systems & Software offered three central voting tabulators at a price of $134,250, Pangelinan said.
The Guam Election Commission has received three bids for voting tabulators and the commission’s evaluation committee can begin reviewing the submissions. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan gave commissioners an update on the machines at their meeting Thursday night. Pangelinan said she couldn’t give specifics about the bids or say which companies put in submissions. The four tabulators the GEC has now are old and outdated and caused some problems during the last election in 2012. The four tabulators are based on technology from the 1980s, according to Pacific Daily News files.
Guam: Election Commission Expects New Central Tabulators Just in Time for This Year’s Election | Pacific News Center
Today was the bid deadline on the Guam Election Commission’s RFP for vote tabulators. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan says a number of bids were received from a variety of companies. She could not say how many or who submitted the bids. Nor could she say how many tabulators will be purchased, since all that depends on the capabilities of the machines being offered, and their cost. And they won’t know that until the bids are opened and examined in the week ahead. Pangelinan said the staff will start evaluating the bids Monday, and she expects a recommended bidder will be presented to the Election Commission at their next meeting on Thursday, March 20th.
The Guam Election Commission wants to have new voting tabulators for this year’s elections and now is one step closer to that goal. The commission released an invitation for bids on Feb. 19 for a central count voting system with software and professional services, according to the bid documents. The bids are due by March 14, said Maria Pangelinan, the commission executive director. That’s a system capable of counting voting results from multiple precincts at a single location. During the 2012 General Election, the GEC had problems with at least three of its four tabulators.
Editorials: It’s time for Guam Election Commission to update election equipment, policies | Pacific Daily News
With the 2014 elections fast approaching, it’s imperative that the Guam Election Commission moves with urgency to address its outdated equipment. The 2012 elections made it clear that the island’s current tabulating machines are old and falling apart. During the 2012 General Election, the Election Commission had problems with at least three of its four tabulators. Those problems drew attention to the age of the machines. The four tabulators are based on technology from the 1980s. It’s time for the Election Commission to move forward with its primary focus on updating equipment and technology. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said the commission is expecting to announce an invitation for bids for new tabulators by next month. Pangelinan and the commission need to ensure that these new tabulators fit the needs of our community and come with the appropriate support and regular maintenance.
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.
The Guam Election Commission (GEC) does not know how much it will be getting in the upcoming fiscal year. Executive Director Maria Pangelinan says in the first substitute budget bill, over $900,000 was budgeted for GEC. However, in the current version of the recently passed Bill 38, GEC was lumped into the Executive Branch’s budget. She notes their appropriation was lumped together before in previous budgets. However, no line item has identified what GEC would receive this time around. Pangelinan says this is a problem as they prepare for the 2014 gubernatorial election. She also explains the money to fix two of their tabulators is not factored in yet because they just received the notice today [Wednesday] about the overall costs.
After five weeks of handcounting ballots from the 2010 general election, the Guam Election Commission presented its findings to commissioners that had some speculating a change in the results, not in the gubernatorial race, but for the Legislature. It took a little over one month to handcount five precincts from the 2010 general election and during its GEC meeting Wednesday night, executive director Maria Pangelinan reported the results. “The difference of the gubernatorial race was minimal,” she said. Of the hand count summary of the five precincts, results showed Gutierrez-Aguon receiving five less votes from the certified results, whereas Calvo-Tenorio received two additional votes. “Between a handcount and machine tabulation there are bound to be differences,” Pangelinan said.
It’s the start of what’s set to take a few weeks, but the Guam Election Commission started the official recount of over 11,000 ballots as part of the audit of the 2010 general election. Sealed away for over two years, the GEC officially began the handcount of an estimated thousands of ballots as part of the audit of the 2010 general election. “So we will count one precinct at a time so today at 9:30am we started with precinct 10 from Yona,” noted executive director Maria Pangelinan. As part of the election reform mandate to conduct an audit of the 2010 general election, the commission decided to handcount a small sample of ballots from 5 different precincts – Precinct 10 in Yona, 14 from Mongmong-Toto-Maite, 15b and 15c from Barrigada, and 19b from Yigo.
Guam: $74K debt to ES&S holds up ballots: Election commission seeks supplemental funding | Pacific Daily News
The Guam Election Commission doesn’t have enough ballot stock for the primary election, and a vendor has cut off the government’s supply because of an outstanding debt. A debt of about $74,000 from the 2008 election is owed to Nebraska-based Election Systems and Software, and the company won’t sell the government of Guam any more ballot stock until the debt is cleared, said Election Commission Executive Director Maria Pangelinan.
Guam Election Commission Executive Director Maria Pangelinan says the GEC is struggling to make ends meet as they prepare for the upcoming primary and general elections. Pangelinan told the Rotary Club of Guam Monday that the GEC is “barely functioning” with a budget of only $850 thousand dollars. That is less than previous years, she said. Pangelinan also spoke about the Commission’s efforts to increase voter participation this year and to encourage more people to enroll in the Decolonization registry.