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14 percent of votes cast voided

By Brett Kelman HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Sept. 7, 2010) –The Guam Election Commission will meet today to confirm the results of Saturday's Primary Election.

Board members also may discuss the high number of crossover ballots that couldn't be counted.

Of about 29,000 ballots cast in the election, more than 14 percent -- or about 4,150 ballots -- were voided. That means enough votes were tossed out to swing any partisan race in the election.

These ballots had crossover votes, which means the voters selected candidates from two parties when they were supposed to choose candidates from only one party. When voters selected candidates from both Democratic and Republican parties, their votes didn't count.

Yesterday, local leaders of both political parties said it was concerning that so many votes were wasted.

"We clearly want every vote to count," said Vince Arriola, executive director of the Guam Democratic Party. "Whether it's on the Democratic side or the Republican side, people are taking their time -- and it's their right to vote -- and we want to make sure to the great extent possible their votes are counted."

"It's alarming, to say the least," said Jesse Torres, chairman of the Republican Party of Guam. "What we need to do next time is hopefully do a better job passing on the word through our grassroots organization than we did in the Primary."

Saturday's Primary Election determined which candidates will move on to the General Election in November.

The Election Commission will meet to certify official results at 4 p.m. today in their office in the GCIC building in Hagåtña.

Republican race

The most heated race was for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. The team of Sens. Eddie Calvo and Ray Tenorio won by about 2,760 votes.

If most of those crossover ballots had gone to the opposing team of Lt. Gov. Mike Cruz and Sen. James Espaldon, the entire gubernatorial race could have been different.

The votes cast on those nullified ballots could have re-shaped the senatorial race also. Eight candidates were eliminated on Saturday, but with only 2,000 more votes, even the lowest vote getters would have qualified for the General Election.

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