AD team, Dems agree to merger of poll workers

Posted on Nov 18 2022


Clyde Norita

The unified independent team of Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and his running mate, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, has agreed to submit their recommended names of poll workers to the Democratic Party for the Nov. 25 runoff election.

Former lawmaker Claudio K. Norita, who chairs the unified independent team’s Strategic Committee, disclosed in an interview yesterday that they have met with the Democratic Party executive committee interim chair Jonathan Cabrera to discuss the merger of their poll workers.

Norita said the Democratic Party has its own poll workers from the Nov. 8 general election and most of them are waiting to help the Palacios-Apatang team in the Nov. 25 runoff election.

As for those who opted not to work as poll workers on the day of the general election, the Democratic Party is getting the unified independent team’s people to fill those slots or those positions across the CNMI, Norita added.

At the Commonwealth Election Commission board special meeting last Nov. 11, Oscar Babauta, who chairs the executive committee of Palacios-Apatang, and lawyer Michael Evangelista appealed to the board to allow the unified independent team to submit names from their side to be part of the election process in each polling place—poll workers, poll supervisors, and observers—to protect the integrity of the electoral process.

The CEC denied the request last Monday. CEC executive director Kayla S. Igitol said they’re just going to stick with the election law that states that they need to get their poll workers listing from the two recognized parties—the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Igitol said the unified independent team of Palacios-Apatang is not a recognized political party.

Igitol said the unified independent team, however, is welcome to coordinate with one of those recognized political parties to submit recommended names of poll workers for the runoff election.

Norita said yesterday that with the strong coalition between the Palacios-Apatang team and defeated Democratic Party’s gubernatorial candidates Reps. Christina E. Sablan (D-Saipan) and Leila F. Staffler (D-Saipan), it was agreed that the Democratic Party will be the one submitting the names of poll workers to the CEC for the runoff election.

“What we’re doing is merging our alliance and helping each other,” Norita said.

He said the Democratic Party will be submitting the list of poll workers to CEC hopefully today, Friday.

Norita said their team is submitting the names to the Democratic Party, which will be compiling the final listing to be submitted to CEC.

Norita said the Democratic Party will integrate their poll workers into the Palacios-Apatang team’s poll workers.

Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres and his running mate, Sen. Vinnie Vinson F. Sablan (R-Saipan), of the Republican Party, topped the Nov. 8 general elections, but failed to gain a majority, paving the way for the runoff race between Torres-Sablan, and Palacios-Apatang.

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

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