Ballot Inconsistencies Lead To Recount On Guam

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Some ballots counted twice, polling data ‘corrupted’

By Zita Y. Taitano

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Nov. 9, 2012) – Discrepancies found in five precinct ballots have prompted the Guam Election Commission (GEC) to conduct a recount today at 11:01 a.m.

The decision was made last night when GEC reconvened for a meeting.

Commission member John Taitano moved that GEC recount the precincts of concern – 4, 6, 13a, 18c and 18g – and then randomly pull two of those precincts for a hand count.

"In addition to that, we get two other machines that are not in question, pull a precinct each from those machines, and run them on a different machine to ensure the integrity and transparency of this election," he said.

Precinct 4, which is Agat, showed a discrepancy in the number of votes Sen. Adolpho Palacios received. According to the unofficial results, Palacios was shown receiving zero votes when the senator indicated supporters from the village in that particular precinct voted for him.

Tabulation machine technician Jason McDonald informed the board there were problems with the other precincts that are going to be recounted.

"I believe the data has been corrupted from the disk transfer," he said, referring to the machine called "Fred" which was the tabulation machine used to count the ballots.

Commission member Martha Cruz Ruth asked if the situation was the same with the other precincts and McDonald said the issue was just with that particular precinct.

Tabulated twice

There was still another problem with Precinct 13a (Agana Heights), where ballots may have been tabulated twice. Thus, the results may have doubled.

Complaints were also made about irregularities at the Yoña polls, and Mayor-elect Ken Joe Ada's residency in the village was also addressed during last night’s meeting.

Ada unofficially won the race for Yoña in Tuesday's election; however, there are concerns he may not even be physically living in the village. The issue was brought up during the Mayors’ Council meeting yesterday during which current Yoña Mayor Pedo Terlaje said his colleague, Piti Mayor Vicente Gumataotao, confirmed Ada was living in Piti. There were about 10 administrative complaints filed yesterday with GEC. There were also complaints about people who are not from the village coming in to vote at M.U. Lujan Elementary School.

GEC board chairman Joe Mesa suggested that GEC legal counsel Jeff Cook research the complaints. Cook indicated he would have a response by next week.

Mesa then said if there is proof of perjury, it will be forwarded to the Attorney General for further investigation.

Also appearing before the commission was Yigo Vice Mayor Ronald Flores who stated his first name on all the ballots was spelled "Roland." He feels this may have jeopardized his chances of winning. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan formally apologized to Flores and said the "error" was on their part for not rechecking the candidates’ names on the ballots.

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