CNMI Democratic Party bet Jesse David Jones Torres apologized yesterday to all his supporters and said he will not appeal the decision of the Commonwealth Election Commission, which disqualified him as a voter and a candidate for this year's mid-term elections.
Torres has seven days to appeal the commission's decision.
The Office of the Attorney General, which found out that he was still a registered voter in Guam, made the recommendation for his disqualification.
“Although my candidacy was already certified by the CNMI Election Commission and I have been listed as a CNMI voter since 1999 all the way until the last time I checked the CEC website a month ago, I understand the CEC’s decision to remove me as a candidate,” Torres said in a statement yesterday, adding that prior to the filing period, he made inquiries with the commission.
“Before filing my candidacy, I inquired with the CNMI Election Commission over the phone and asked that if a person works on both Saipan and Guam, would that person still be able to run for office. I was told that as long as that person is not a registered voter in Guam. The Guam election commission failed to un-register me as a 2010 Guam voter after I had filled out a form requesting to un-register me before filing my candidacy with the CNMI election office. It was even notarized by them. Somehow, they lost my form and never did their job,” he added.
However, he said he has decided not to file an appeal. “I have decided not to file for an appeal so that the CNMI election for Precinct 5 can proceed without disruption. I ask that if my name is on the absentee ballots, that people do not vote for me so that their vote would count. I thank all of those who supported me and I apologize for this inconvenience even after my candidacy was certified months ago,” he added.
The commission is expected to strike out Torres' name on the ballots after its board adopted a motion last Wednesday that instructed the removal of his name.