$20,000 to get 8 votes from Northern Islands


Kayla S. Igitol

It will cost the Commonwealth Election Commission an estimated $20,000 to charter a boat that will bring a CEC team to the Northern Islands to get eight votes.

This was learned from CEC executive director Kayla S. Igitol, who told Saipan Tribune in an interview Tuesday that they are looking at leaving Saipan for the Northern Islands aboard a charter boat either on Nov. 4 or 5.

Igitol said the team will include one CEC staff, one Office of the Public Auditor staff, two election poll workers, two poll supervisors, and one police officer.

“They will [go to] the furthest island [first] and work their way back,” she said.

She said they will get four votes from Alamagan and four from Agrihan.

Igitol said they could not find a helicopter that would bring them to the Northern Islands, hence the decision to charter a boat.

She said that spending thousands of dollars to get fewer than 10 votes from the Northern Islands has never been an issue because “there is no price tag on democracy.”

“Every voter has the right to vote, whether it costs $100 or $20,000,” Igitol said.

As of Tuesday, 137 registered voters from the Northern Islands have already voted and there are 59, including the eight, who have yet to vote. Most NI voters currently live on Saipan.

Jocelyn Frances Aldan Kapileo and Valentino Nicky Taisacan are gunning for Northern Islands mayor. Kapileo is running as an independent, while Taisacan is seeking the post under the Republican Party.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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