21 days for Saipan, NI; 7 days for Tinian, Rota

Only multi-purpose center confirmed as designated polling place
Posted on Sep 24 2020


The 21-day early voting for Saipan and the Northern Islands will start on Oct. 13, while the seven-day early voting for Tinian and Rota will begin on Oct. 27, according to Commonwealth Election Commission executive director Julita A. Villagomez yesterday.

Villagomez said early voting for Northern Islands only supposed to start last Sept. 19, but CEC did not push through with it after the Legislature passed a bill that suspended certain election laws.
With respect to designated polling places on Saipan for early voting, the executive director said the only confirmed site is the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe for precincts 2, 3A and 3B, and also for the Northern Islands, Tinian, and Rota.
Villagomez said the other polling places they are planning to designate are Youth Center in Koblerville for Precinct 1, Legislature in Capital Hill for 4A, 4B; Tanapag Center for 4C; and Kagman Youth Center for Precinct 5.

She said they have already requested to use the Youth Center in Koblerville, Legislature, Tanapag Youth Center, and Kagman Youth Center.
Villagomez said they don’t have a problem with designating polling places during election day as schools are closed during the election day, being a holiday.
Villagomez said for Tinian and Rota early voting, they received a call from a Commonwealth Ports Authority official yesterday morning that the airports on the two islands are still questionable to be designated as polling places.

She said at the time they’re considering the airports as designated polling places during early voting, they were thinking it’s going to be three weeks, but now it’s seven days.
Villagomez said now they have to go look elsewhere because according to the CPA official, the Tinian airport has typhoon water damage.
The Tinian airport has two buildings for the terminal. CEC eyed one building that is not being used.
“We’re looking at other places like the youth center or the court for one week. So it’s not clear yet where we’re [going to] hold early voting on Tinian. We have to comply with COVID-19 Task Force,” Villagomez said.

On Tinian, early voting used to be at the Tinian Department of Public Safety. The general elections on Tinian is always in the cafeteria of the Tinian Elementary School.
Regarding early voting on Rota, Villagomez said it’s not confirmed yet whether it’s going to be on the island’s airport.
She emphasized that Rota and Tinian, however, can still do early voting on Saipan within the 21-day period.

Villagomez said for Rota early voting, they’re eyeing to move back to the Rota Northern Marianas College, which is also the polling place for the general elections.
She said Rota DPS used to be the site of early voting, but there’s renovation ongoing.
“We need bigger space. So that we can comply with COVID-19 Task Force,” she said. The executive director reminded voters that the last day to apply for absentee voting is Oct. 9.

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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