Commonwealth Election Commission executive director Robert A. Guerrero disclosed yesterday that the commission received on Monday 18,000 ballots from Alabama to be used in this year's mid-term elections.
The commission completed the ballot inventory yesterday and started preparing the packages to be sent to absentee voters who requested the ballot forms.
Guerrero said absentee requestors will soon receive their packages as the commission will begin shipping them this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
As of Sept. 17, the commission recorded a total of 621 absentee voters who requested ballots from the agency. This figure is anticipated to increase in the coming days as the commission will continue to receive requests 25 days before election day, or until Oct. 12. Absentee voters can download the request form from the agency's website, according to the executive director.
In the previous elections, the commission received approximately 1,500 absentee requests.
Guerrero pointed out that those who made the request will only be getting the absentee ballots pursuant to election law. Every election, the commission generates new list of requests for absentee voting.
The printing of ballots took place in Alabama because the vendor for the machines that will be used during the elections is located in the area.
The CNMI mid-term elections is set on Nov. 6 this year of which 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.
In a couple of weeks, Guerrero said public education for these three legislative initiatives will also commence, in collaboration with the Northern Marianas College.
As of yesterday, translation and publication have been completed in time for the materials' dissemination in the coming days.
The commission earlier disclosed to Saipan Tribune that it 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.
Guerrero anticipated that given the capacity and efficiency of the three machines, tabulation is expected to be quicker than expected.
As of Sept. 13, the commission posted a total of 16,745 registered voters on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.