High Number Of Guam Primary Votes Invalid

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11% of ballots not completed properly

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Sept. 3, 2012) – There were 21,375 votes cast in the Primary Election Saturday, but about 11 percent, or 2,369, of them were invalid due to crossover voting.

Democratic member on the Guam Election Commission board member Chris Carillo said the number is large, but it wouldn't have made a significant change in election results.

Carillo thinks some of the crossover votes occurred because some people voted for Democrats in one race and didn't realize their mayoral candidate was from the other party. Carillo said GEC will need to figure out how to decrease the number of crossover votes.

The GEC is expected to meet at 2 p.m. today to discuss the spoiled ballots and possibly certify election results.

According to unofficial results, 11,594 ballots were cast for the Democratic party, while about 7,279 for Republicans. The results showed that more Democrats came out to vote than Republican supporters.

Carlo Branch, chairman of the Democratic party, said the turnout of Democratic party supporters isn't surprising and he's confident the party will get the same level of support in the General Election in November.

If that's true, then several Democratic incumbents in the Legislature may have their work cut out for them.

Sens. Adolpho Palacios and Judith Guthertz came in numbers 11 and 12 respectfully in the senatorial race. Newcomer Michael San Nicolas edged out the two sitting senators -- garnering eighth-place in terms of votes. That may not be enough to get the young Democrat into the Legislature, however.

Kaleo Moylan, former lieutenant governor and senator, said typically the top seven candidates in both parties in the Primary Election have a greater chance of gaining a seat come General Election. These candidates are well recognized by voters and therefore get a number of votes, he said. Those under this threshold will need to push hard the next few months to get recognized by voters.

This rule isn't foolproof and independent voters tend to sway numbers in the General Election, Moylan said.

"You can have small numbers in the Primary Election then see huge numbers in the general," Moylan said.

Palacios said he's not too worried. He said he generally doesn't make the top 10 in the Primary Election, but fairs well in the General Election -- coming in at around number 12. He's hoping this year will be the same.

Palacios said the Primary Election numbers motivate him to campaign harder and he looks forward to the support of Guam's voters.

High numbers

The highest vote for senator on the Democratic side was Sen. Dennis Rodriguez Jr., who gained 7,721 votes. On the Republican side the highest earner was Tommy Morrison with 5,175 votes. The difference between the highest earners was about 2,500 votes. The difference was about the same in the Guam delegate race between the top democratic candidate and the lone republican candidate.

Although the Republican candidates did not gain as many votes as Democrats, they said they are optimistic about their chances to take back the Legislature in November.

Morrison and incumbent Sen. Chris Duenas placed at the top of the Republican race. They said they're looking forward to getting back out to the field to take their campaigns through to November.

Duenas said he believed the Primary Election had left Republicans well positioned for the General Election and that both incumbents and challengers have worked well together so far.

"There's been really tight synergy between the incumbents and newcomers," he said.

The senator said he believes that GOP candidates will be successful if they continue to broadcast their message of "focusing on the economy, jobs and leading by example."

Morrison, one of the party's challengers, said he felt "very confident" about what polling results had shown.

"There's a lot of work to be done," Morrison said.

Resident Robert Michael said he was "shocked" that there weren't more people out at the polls, but said he still thinks Republicans have a good shot at taking back the Legislature this fall.

Michael said he is a registered Republican, but party affiliation isn't the only factor he considers when heading to the polls.

"I do look at issues and I certainly look at the individuals," he said.

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