CEC ready for new poll dates

CEC executive director says Tinian will be a problem

The Commonwealth Election Commission is prepared for the new dates for early voting and general election that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres set due to Super Typhoon Yutu’s devastation on Saipan and Tinian, according to CEC executive director Julita A. Villagomez yesterday.

Villagomez said they are prepared for the new election date as long as they are doing the early voting.

Early voting for Saipan, Tinian, and Rota was supposed to start yesterday, based on the old schedule.

The general election was originally set for Nov. 6.

On Monday, Torres signed an executive order that authorizes the postponement of the early voting and the general election due to Super Typhoon Yutu’s devastation on Saipan and Rota.

Torres said early voting will now be on Nov. 6 and the general election will now be on Nov. 13.

Torres said after consultation with CEC, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. and other agencies, he has determined that it will be nearly impossible to hold the election as scheduled for a variety of factors.

The governor cited the inability of the CEC to conduct the election as required, the damage to the public and private infrastructure, the people’s need to look after their families and property, and the government’s need to concentrate on providing relief to the public.

“We are at a very sensitive time here in the CNMI, and I want all of our residents on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota to focus on taking care of themselves after experiencing two devastating natural disasters,” Torres said.

“Exercising your right to vote is an important part of our democracy and our freedom. Taking care of yourself and your family is even more important,” he added.

Villagomez said that for early voting and on the day of the general election itself, the government must provide generators at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center.

Early voting on Saipan will be at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center, while on Tinian it’s either at the Northern Marianas College-Tinian or at Tinian High School, and on Rota it will be at NMC-Rota.

Villagomez said she believes that the only difficulty they are facing is Tinian because the island has no power and water supply.

On Saipan, if the school cafeterias will still be used as shelters on Nov. 13, CEC can use classrooms as polling places, she said.

The executive director said she has no idea how the government or CUC can provide generators at each polling place.

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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