CNMI voters presently located outside the islands are starting to mail in their requests for absentee ballot forms so they could participate in the midterm elections on Nov. 6.
Robert A. Guerrero, executive director of the Commonwealth Election Commission, said yesterday that the agency has so far received more than 150 absentee ballot requests since Aug. 23. The names of those asking for absentee ballots may be seen on the agency's website, www.votecnmi.gov.mp, which is updated every week.
Absentee voters have until Oct. 12 to send in their requests to the commission. This is pursuant to the election law, which allows the commission to receive the requests 25 days before election day. Absentee voters may download the request form from the agency's website.
In previous elections, the commission received approximately 1,500 absentee ballot requests. With a few more weeks before the Oct. 12 deadline, Guerrero expects to get the same number of requests this year.
He said they target to mail out the absentee ballots on Sept. 20-25. He pointed out that only those who made the request will receive the absentee ballots.
Every election, the commission generates new list of requests for absentee votes.
Guerrero also said yesterday that CEC has just completed the translation for the legislative initiatives for this year's election. Printing of the educational materials is being finalized in time for dissemination in the middle of this month.
The commission is collaborating with the Northern Marianas College in printing the public education materials on House Legislative Initiative 17-2, which will make the attorney general an elected position; Senate Legislative Initiative 17-12, which seeks to allow the Northern Marianas College’s Board of Regents to revise NMC's mission statement; and House Legislative Initiative 17-5, which will allow the government to float a bond.
Guerrero said the agency will print 17,500 ballots for the upcoming midterm election and has set aside $79,000 for the whole election exercise.
Saipan Tribune learned that the $79,000 will come from two fiscal years appropriation for the commission: from 2012 ($28,395) and from 2013 ($50,651).
With its limited budget this fiscal year, Guerrero said they managed to “squeeze” the funds they have and are confident it will sustain their needs for the election.