‘Come out and vote’

67 candidates vie for 37 positions

With 17,930 registered voters in the CNMI and over 5,000 having already cast their votes, thousands are heading to polling places today, Tuesday, to choose from 67 candidates who will occupy 37 positions, during a midterm election that is now called a general election.

The seven-day early voting on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota ended yesterday with a total of 712 people from Saipan, the Northern Islands, Tinian, and Rota casting their early votes at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and his wife were among yesterday’s early voters.

The results of yesterday’s early voting on Tinian and Rota were not available as of press time. A total of 4,331 votes were cast in the first six days of early voting in the CNMI.

Election Commission executive director Julita A. Villagomez urged voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

“Come out and vote. Bring your ID,” Villagomez said.

Voting in polling places on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota will start at 7am and close 7pm. Tabulation will be held at the Multi-Purpose Center.

For “confine voters” or those who are sick or physically unable to go to polling places, Villagomez said they will entertain requests to vote from 7am to 12pm.

Voters will decide who among the 40 candidates should take the 20 House seats, and who among the seven candidates should occupy three Senate seats.

Voters will also select nine for municipal councils and three for the Board of Education. Twelve are running for municipal councils, while six for BOE.

U.S. Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) is running unopposed as he seeks a fifth term. First elected in 2008, Sablan became the first delegate from the CNMI elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho is seeking retention on the bench.

The Rota election is an interesting one. For the first time in CNMI history, brothers Rota Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Ind.) and Thomas A. Manglona (Dem.) are running for the same elected Senate position. Rota Municipal Council chair George Ogo Hocog (Rep) is also running for the same position.

At the House, an interesting fight will be for Precinct 3, where 12 candidates are battling for six positions, making it the precinct with most number of candidates. The precinct covers Garapan, Oleai, and part of Mt. Tapochau.

Of the 40 House candidates, 20 are independents, 18 Republicans, and two Democrats. Of the seven Senate candidates, three are Republicans, three are independents, and one is a Democrat.

Police captain Lawrence Camacho said he put up a police command post at the Multi-Purpose Center.

Camacho said the number of officers assigned for election-related operation will be doubled today.

Camacho has been designated by the Department of Public Safety as election operation commander.

The police captain earlier disclosed that starting on the first day of early voting, he dispatched one Saipan police officer to Tinian and another Saipan police officer to Rota to monitor the election on the two islands.

Camacho said Saipan officers assigned on Tinian and Rota will be assisted by three other police officers from each of the two islands.

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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