Klitzkie proposes big changes to election rules

by Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM News
Monday, November 13, 2006

Hot on the heels of the problems that arose from Decision 2006's primary and general elections, Republican senator Bob Klitzkie has introduced Bill 383, also known as the Guam Election Reform Act of 2007. KUAM previously brought you the alarming story of more than 100 voters still waiting in line after the polls closed at 8pm to cast their ballots on Super Tuesday last week.

Yigo mayor Bob Lizama, whose village was one of the most dramatically affected, waited almost an hour-and-a-half in crutches to make his mark. But even more surprising, he says, "I did receive a call from my staff for use of the gym for a polling place was asked to see if I knew anyone who wants to work or be hired on the spot. A lot of the workers supposed to work and committed to work and didn't show up."

It's problems like these that Guam Election Commission executive director Gerry Taitano told KUAM News today he's considering taking legal action against precinct workers that failed to show up for work. Taitano added that at precinct 19C (the Yigo Gym), out of the five workers that were supposed to work that day only one showed up when the poll opened at 7am. GEC staff including the executive director himself had to fly up to the northernmost village to help out personally. What happened though in Yigo only compounds to the problems experienced during the primary and other issues with the General Election.

Such issues prompted Senator Klitzkie, who did not run for reelection in Decision 2006, to step in and introduce his suggested legislation. The measure would create the Bureau of Elections, which would replace the Guam Election Commission and supervised by a new position called the "Administrator of Elections". Together they will handle the operational side of elections on Guam. A newly created Board of Canvass and Appeals would further hear appeals, promulgate rules and certify elections.

According to Klitzkie, the legislation sets clear functions and accountability for all those involved with local elections and would prevent the problems of today from happening in the future. "First," he explained, "it provides a comprehensive review of all the rules and regulations and all the statutes and second it assigns responsibilities - for operations makes it clear that the administrator of elections runs the elections and the Board of Canvass and Appeals is an appellate body and doesn't get involved with the actual operations of elections that way we have someone we can hold accountable for the proper functioning of the Bureau of Elections for he elections, etc."

Senator Klitzkie in the meantime also introduced Bill 384, which eliminates the posting of political campaign signs on government rights of way; and Bill 385 that allows the placing of political signs on private property.

Review the Guam Election Reform Act of 2007

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