REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK

At the tent of gubernatorial candidate Juan N. Babauta and his running mate, Dr. Rita A. Sablan, near a polling place in Garapan Central Park, supporters kept on playing the Babauta-Sablan’s and independent candidates’ campaign song, Munga Mana Lastima i Bota Miyu. Alfred Saures is the singer of the campaign jingle, which means “Don’t Waste Your Vote.” The song’s lively cha-cha tune prompted Francisco C. Sablan, husband of Dr. Sablan, to dance with an elderly woman supporter on the side of the street by the Gold’s Gym.

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At the early voting, Commonwealth Election Commission officials and officers allowed the media to take photos and videos of voters presenting their identification cards and checking an answer in a box from a question pertaining to early voting. Media, however, were not allowed to take photos and videos when the voters would cast their votes.

It was the same policy at the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library yesterday morning. But yesterday afternoon, the policy was changed. Media were not allowed to take videos and photos at all.

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Despite the magnitude and severity of the devastation of Super Typhoon Yutu three weeks ago, Saipan voters were not hindered.

According to Herman P. Sablan, Precinct 1A and 1B-1 poll supervisor, this year’s election was nothing short of interesting.

“This year’s election is very interesting and was a bit more complicated because we had the calamity that just took place and people are still struggling to recover yet they still came out to vote,” he said.

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It was a fiesta-like atmosphere across Chacha Oceanview Middle School, the polling pace for Precinct 5-1 and 5-2 in Kagman, with supporters of the local Republican Party cheering passersby and those who are about to vote.

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Supporters of the NMI Republican Party—wearing red- or orange-colored shirts—were at every GOP tent near every polling place. You can easily see the bright orange-colored shirts even a few hundred feet away.

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Former governor Juan N. Babauta bumped into Carlos S. Camacho, the CNMI’s first chief executive, after voting at Precinct 3B-1 and 3B-2 at the Garapan Central Park.

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The Commonwealth Election Commission’s organization of this year’s voting system impressed some voters, who said the voting experience took about 15 minutes in all.

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Candidates and their camps concluded their final voting run with an island touch—blaring music with a festive melody. As traffic started to build up at the turn going into the Sugar King Park, the voters had to drive through a drove of tents with faces of candidates on tarps and billboards already discolored by the intense sun.

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The Garapan Roundhouse was nearly empty in the afternoon, with the 10 poll workers, some Department of Public Safety officers, an Office of the Attorney General representative, and about 2-3 voters in their booths. On the tally sheets of poll workers, they noted that 1,521 voters dropped by to cast their votes from 8am to 2pm. (Ferdie de la Torre, Jon Perez, Kimberly Bautista, Erwin Encinares)

 

(Ferdie de la Torre, Jon Perez, Kimberly Bautista, Erwin Encinares) Author

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