EARLY VOTING ON SAIPAN

Brisk turnout on 1st day

But it’s slow on Tinian

Early voters troop to the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe at during the first day of the early voting on Saipan yesterday. The Commonwealth Election Commission said the turnout was high on Saipan, but not on Tinian. (Ferdie de la Torre)

The first day of the early voting on Saipan yesterday had a good turnout, but it was slow on Tinian, according to the Commonwealth Election Commission.

Several voters crowded outside the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe as soon as the polling place opened for early voting at 8:30am.

The process, however, was smooth and orderly. People would gather near the entrance to listen to a CEC officer’s announcement for voters to come inside whenever their precinct is called.

Outside the center, a few cars lined up for curbside voting in which CEC officers assisted people to vote inside their vehicles because of age or physical disability.

As of 11am, the turnout was high on Saipan, said CEC administrative officer Kayla Igitol.

“It seems like everybody wants to vote today,” Igitol said.

She said they heard, though, that early voting on Tinian was slow.

Igitol said they have not heard from Rota yet.

Early voting will end on Nov. 12—a day before the general election.

Commonwealth Ports Authority board member Pete Reyes said he prefers to avail of the early voting, similar to what he did in the 2016 election, to avoid traffic and overcrowding during election day itself.

Reyes also opted for early voting because he is leaving for the Philippines on Nov. 13, the day before election day.

He noted that there were a lot of voters during the first day of the early election.

“This is good because now we can measure the strength of our party,” said Reyes, who is a GOP adviser.

Milton Coleman, a 72-year-old retired government employee, said the CEC is efficient in implementing early voting as the process was fast and orderly.

Coleman said he also availed of early voting in the last election to avoid the crowd during election day.

Cecilia Lisua, 66, said she has a disability and that CEC officers helped her so the voting was fast.

Lisua said she failed to vote in the last election because she was in Palau.

Shin Jang, 63, said she and her husband voted early because they’re leaving for Guam this week or next week.

Jang said she waited about 20 minutes outside the center, but when her precinct was called and she was allowed to enter the building, the voting process was fast.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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