GUAM ELECTION COMMISSION DECLARES CAMACHO WINNER

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, November 13) – After the Guam Election Commission’s certification of the results of last Tuesday’s election, the Camacho-Cruz team is calling on the Underwood-Aguon team to respect the people’s decision and unite with the administration.

In a statement, the Camacho-Cruz team said the people of Guam have voted "and it is undisputed that Gov. Felix P. Camacho received more votes than Robert Underwood."

The Camacho-Cruz team described the plans by the Underwood-Aguon team to bring its protest to court as "trying to get a second bite at the apple" by asking for another election based on a technical argument that the GEC should be required to count "overvotes."

Overvotes happen when someone voted for both Camacho and former Congressman Robert Underwood. GEC has decided not to count overvotes and the Camacho-Cruz team agrees with the decision for the following reasons:

• First, a voter cannot vote to elect two governors. As such, overvotes are spoiled ballots and must be disregarded. A Guam statute enacted in 2000 expressly provides that overvotes cannot be counted;

• Second, if overvotes were counted, then both Camacho and Underwood would receive an equal increase in votes. The proportion of votes for each gubernatorial candidate would remain the same and Camacho would still have the majority of votes cast; and

• Third, nothing in the Organic Act requires that overvotes be counted. The Organic Act merely requires that a gubernatorial candidate be elected by a majority of votes cast.

According to the Camacho-Cruz team, the term "votes cast" is not specifically defined in federal law and, as a consequence, it is within the authority of the Guam Legislature to supplement federal law on this subject.

"The Guam statute prohibiting the counting of overvotes is not contrary to any federal law. It could not possibly have been the intent of the U.S. Congress in the Organic Act to require that spoiled ballots be counted when electing the governor of Guam," the Camacho-Cruz team argued.

"Mr. Underwood should be congratulated for a hard fought campaign. The election is over. It is time for our community to heal, to put the election behind us and to prepare for the upcoming holidays," campaign spokesman Shawn Gumataotao said.

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