‘Polling sites are safe’


Staff of the Commonwealth Election Commission man the entrance to the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center on Oct. 13, which is the first day of early voting on Saipan and the Northern Islands. All early voters were subjected to temperature checks before entering the voting booth. (Neil Fama)

The Commonwealth Election Commission and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force have been working together to assure the community that polling sites during early voting and on election day on Nov. 3 are safe from the coronavirus.

Speaking at a radio news briefing last Tuesday, COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez said they already put protocols in place at the early election sites for Saipan and Northern Islands at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe, Koblerville Youth Center in Koblerville, Tanapag Youth Center in Tanapag, and Kagman Community Center in Kagman.

Villagomez said that they, together with the representative of Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña, have given CEC all the necessary guidelines for voting activities.

The 21-day early voting for Saipan and Northern Islands commenced last Tuesday. So far, the early voting process has been smooth and fast.

Villagomez disclosed that they coordinated with the CEC Monday night to sanitize and disinfect the voting sites. He said the CEC, which has hired a cleaning service, has put in a lot of work, a lot of planning, and added more poll workers for assistance.

With respect to curbside voting, where a voter is allowed to cast his/her ballot while in a vehicle and outside the polling station, Villagomez said the task force and CEC have been working together to ensure safety while making sure that people get to exercise their right to vote.

“We are monitoring on a daily basis all the regulatory directives…to make sure that they are in place,” he said.

Villagomez asked the community to adhere to the poll workers’ instructions. “We want to be successful and, as what [Muña] said, we want to continue to be safe in the CNMI,” he added.


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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