CEC will pick up last batch of absentee votes tomorrow


The Commonwealth Election Commission will get the second and final batch of absentee votes for the runoff election—if there is any—at the U.S. Postal Service in Chalan Kanoa, at 3:30pm tomorrow, Friday, according to CEC executive director Kayla S. Igitol yesterday.

In response to Saipan Tribune’s inquiry, Igitol said they will pick up the first batch of absentee votes at the U.S. Postal Service Friday at 11am.

The CEC staff, accompanied by Department of Public Safety police officers and Office of the Public Auditor representatives, will bring the absentee votes to the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe for tabulation.

“I hope we get most of it, if not all, back,” Igitol said.

The CEC sent out 2,139 absentee ballots and only 315 have been returned as of runoff election day of Nov. 25.

Igitol earlier stated that the remaining absentee votes must be postmarked on or before Nov. 25, Saipan time, to be counted manually tomorrow.

A source at CEC, however, stated that the board will consult the Office of the Attorney General whether the votes must be postmarked on or before Nov. 25, Saipan time, or as long as it’s on or before Nov. 25 in the voters’ places.

It’s mathematically improbable, however, for Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and his running mate, Sen. Vinnie Vinson F. Sablan (R-Saipan), of the Republican Party, to catch up, considering that Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and his running mate, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, of the unified independent team, now enjoy a commanding 1,060-vote lead, based on the CEC’s unofficial tabulation results.

In the Nov. 8 general elections, CEC’s official tabulation results show that there were 1,531 total absentee votes counted. Torres-Sablan received 570, while Palacios-Apatang got 557, and Rep. Christina E. Sablan (D-Saipan) and her running mate, Rep. Leila F. Staffler (D-Saipan), of the Democratic Party, obtained 404.

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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