From the usual long hours of waiting for the election result, the public may now expect a quicker outcome during this mid-terms polls after Commonwealth Election Commission acknowledged their acquisition of a bigger and faster tabulation machine.
Election commission executive director Robert A. Guerrero told Saipan Tribune Friday that the agency will be using a bigger, quicker machine that will bring to three the total machines to be used in tabulating ballots on Nov. 6.
The machine will be shipped out from Alabama, along with technical support staffers, at least one week before the election. The same kind of machine, Guerrero said, was utilized in Guam during the last election.
Guerrero anticipated that given the capacity and efficiency of the three machines, tabulation is expected to be quicker than expected.
“With the additional bigger machine, we're targeting to finish the counting and tabulation process within four to five hours so we can have the result thereafter. They will speed up the whole process,” he told Saipan Tribune.
For several years, it took the election commission from eight to nine hours to complete the tabulation process, usually starting at 8pm through 4am. This mid-term elections, he said the election commission board intends to start the tabulation early so that results are expected to be known by 1am. The CNMI as of Aug. 31 has over 16,400 registered voters.
“The voting population deserve a quicker result and we're going to make it happen this year,” he told Saipan Tribune.
Guerrero said the vendor for the machine is based in Alabama, where the CNMI will also print its ballot forms.
According to the executive director, in order for the three tabulation machines to read the ballots, the ballot has to be printed out in the vendor's main printing plant which is based in Alabama.
The ballots are scheduled to arrive on islands by the middle of this month so the election commission can start sending the ballots to absentee voters.
The agency is producing 17,500 ballots for this mid-term elections.
The CNMI mid-term elections is set on Nov. 6 this year of which the following positions are up for grabs: 20 seats at the House of Representatives; three seats at the Senate; three seats for Board of Education; all positions at the municipal councils; retention of judges: and one position for U.S. delegate to national congress.
There are also three legislative initiatives for the voters to ratify. These include House Legislative Initiative 17-2 which will make the attorney general an elected position; Senate Legislative Initiative 17-12 which seeks to amend 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.