CEC chairman Sablan is resigning


Jesus I. Sablan

Jesus I. Sablan, who chairs the Commonwealth Election Commission since 2018, disclosed Saturday that the Nov. 25 runoff election would be his final election year.

Sablan, 74, told Saipan Tribune in an interview shortly after they completed the counting of the runoff race votes that he still has three years and six months left on his term, but that he will resign after this runoff election due to health reasons.

The CEC has until Dec. 9 to count the remaining absentee votes for the runoff race between Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and his running mate, Sen. Vinnie Vinson F. Sablan (R-Saipan), of the Republican Party, and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and his running mate, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, of the unified independent team.

Sablan said he will submit his resignation letter to Torres most likely either by the end of the year or in early January 2023.

The chairman said he wants to help CEC assist the Legislature revamp some of the CNMI’s election laws to make it easier and better for future CEC commissioners.

Before his term expired last July 21, 2022, Sablan informed Torres and his fellow CEC commissioners that he won’t be accepting any re-appointment to the post for personal reasons. But with no CEC commissioner interested to serve as board chairman, Sablan reconsidered his decision and accepted his re-appointment for another four years as commissioner.

The chairman said Saturday that he accepted his re-appointment as he was afraid that, if he did not, this 2022 elections might be jeopardized.

The CEC was heavily criticized by many politicians and netizens after the tabulations of results in the Nov. 8 general elections were completed after 21 hours.

Sablan has been a CEC commissioner, representing Saipan and the Northern Islands, for 15 years. He has served as chairman of the CEC board since 2018.

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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