CEC’s Sablan changes mind about resigning
Commonwealth Election Commission board chair Jesus I. Sablan said Friday that he will no longer continue his plan to resign and instead will help make future CNMI elections more efficient.
“Earlier, I said it could be end of the month of early next month, but I still got a lot of things to do [at CEC],” said Sablan referring to his recent statement that the Nov. 25 gubernatorial runoff election would be his final election year.
Sablan said in an interview shortly after the CEC certified the runoff election results that they need to revisit election laws so they can make recommendations to the Legislature to make future elections simpler and easier to conduct.
“I decided not [to resign] for as long as my health permits me,” said the 74-year-old Sablan.
The tabulation of votes during the Nov. 8 general elections lasted about 21 hours due to several factors.
In the general election, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and his running mate, Sen. Vinnie Vinson F. Sablan (R-Saipan), of the Republican Party, were the top voters in the three-way gubernatorial race but failed to gain the majority, paving the way for the Nov. 25 runoff election.
A total of 14,750 votes were counted during the Nov. 8 general election, while 13,657 votes were counted during the runoff race, or a big difference of 1,093.
Last Nov. 26, the chairman told Saipan Tribune shortly after they completed the counting of the runoff race votes that he has still three years and six months left on his term, but that he will resign after the runoff election due to health reasons.
Sablan has chaired the CEC board since 2018. Before his term expired on July 21, 2022, he informed Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and his fellow commissioners that he won’t be accepting any re-appointment to the post for personal reasons.
However, no commissioner was interested to serve as chairman, prompting Sablan to reconsider his decision. He subsequently accepted Torres’ re-appointment for him to serve another four years as CEC commissioner.
Sablan has been a CEC commissioner, representing the third Senatorial District, which is Saipan and Northern Islands, for 15 years.