CEC to start mailing out ballots by Feb. 27

The Commonwealth Election Commission will start mailing out absentee ballots this Wednesday, Feb. 27, if the ballots are ready by then for the special election, according to CEC election register clerk Robin Sablan yesterday.

Sablan said they will start sending out the absentee ballots after Feb. 26, the deadline to apply for absentee voting by electronic/mail.

Sablan said upon receiving the ballots, absentee voters can then cast their votes and mail back their ballots to CEC to be counted.

Right now, he said, CEC does not have the ballots.

CEC has contracted a local company to print about 4,000 ballots.

Sablan said the last time the CEC will check the U.S. Postal Office is at about 4pm, before it closes on March 23, which is the day of the special election.

“Whatever [ballots] we take on that time before [USPS] closes, that’s the only one that will be counted,” he said.

As for the polling places, Sablan said the Garapan Elementary School has confirmed with CEC that one of their classrooms will be available for a designated polling site.

Sablan said Oleai Elementary School also informed them that one of their classrooms will be available for the election.

He said they are fine with the classrooms instead of the cafeterias as it’s only a special election for a vacant seat in the Precinct 3 House of the Representatives.

March 8 is the target date for the CEC board’s designation of two polling places.

Sablan said they, however, want to do the designation early.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres set the March 23 special election after the death of representative Francisco D. Dela Cruz last month.

There are four candidates—former representative Donald Cabrera Barcinas of the Democratic Party, Marco Taisakan Peter of the Republican Party, and independent bets David Castro Sablan and Mariano DLG Fajardo.

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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