The Commonwealth Election Commission expects a slight increase in the number of absentee voters in this year's mid-term elections, having recorded a total of 1,500 registered absentee voters as of Wednesday.
Absentee voters have until today, Oct. 12, to send in their requests for absentee ballots through mail and e-mail. The commission is required to entertain such requests up to 25 days before the election.
This year's mid-term polls is on Nov. 6.
Commission executive director Robert A. Guerrero disclosed to Saipan Tribune that an estimated 1,500 absentee voters are recorded every election year in the Commonwealth.
As of Oct. 10, the agency has already registered a total of 1,500 absentee voters-a day prior to the Oct. 12 deadline.
Commission records show that the bulk of absentee voters come from Rota with 623 absentee voters as of Wednesday, while Tinian has 337.
Saipan posted a total of 540 absentee voters. These are from the following villages: San Antonio, 47; San Vicente, 133; Koblerville, 30; Chalan Kanoa, 38; Oleai, 22; Garapan, 122; Tanapag, 18; San Roque, 22; Capital Hill, 23; Kagman, 86; and Northern Islands, 0.
Guerrero said the commission is still processing over 100 absentee ballot requests that the agency has yet to include in the total absentee figures on the agency's website.
He said the 1,500 absentee voters are a significant percentage of the overall registered voters in the Commonwealth, which has a total of 16,774 voters as of Oct. 10.
The total number of registered voters may still change as the commission deletes individual voters who are convicted felons or have died.
According to Guerrero, absentee voters play a pivotal role in every election year. In the 2009 election, for example, 25 percent of the turnout were absentee voters.
Meantime, the commission has completed the production of 3,000 informational materials about the three legislative initiatives that would be ratified by the voters. These include House Legislative Initiative 17-2, which will make the attorney general an elected position; Senate Legislative Initiative 17-12, which gives the Northern Marianas College’s Board of Regents authority to revise its mission statement; and House Legislative Initiative 17-5, which will allow the government to float a bond.
The materials-brochures and pamphlets-will be turned over to the Northern Marianas College, which will conduct the public education for the initiatives.