Boat charter to get 14 early votes: $26K to $27K


The Commonwealth Election Commission is preparing to spend $26,000 to $27,000 to charter a boat to deliver ballots for early voting for the Nov. 6 general election of 14 voters on the Northern Islands.

The CEC doesn’t know if additional registered voters will stay on the Northern Islands because a ship chartered by the CNMI Homeland Security was set to leave for an emergency trip to the Northern Islands yesterday to carry supplies to the islands.

Election register clerk Robin Sablan disclosed that they don’t know if anyone among the passengers in the ship are Northern Islands’ voters.

He said that, as of Monday, they learned from the Northern Islands Mayor’s Office that, of the 26 people currently staying on those islands, 14 are registered voters for the islands and eight are not.

He said the remaining four are registered voters of Precinct 4A, which covers the Tanapag area.

The Northern Islands itself have 177 registered voters.

Robin Sablan and CEC executive director Julita Sablan said that, even if there is only one registered voter on the Northern Islands, they have go there and get the lone vote, as required by law.

Robin Sablan said there is no exact date as to when they are leaving for the Northern Islands for early voting because the boat that they may charter is currently heading to Saipan from Guam.

He said other boats cannot accommodate them all—about six total passengers from CEC, Department of Public Safety, Office of the Public Auditor, and Office of the Attorney General.

He said the back-and-forth travel takes three hours for each three islands—Pagan, Agrihan, and Alamagan—or about 2.5 days in all.

Although the early voting for those currently staying on the Northern Islands started last Saturday, CEC has a 45-day window to conduct it.

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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