Many voters, candidates, election watchdogs, and even members of the media took to social media during this year’s general election, branching out from traditional forms of expression such as print media or radio to get their messages across via new means such as the internet.
Some used social media to campaign, to express frustrations, to share their joy, or to express their excitement. It was an emotional outlet for many. Using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Snapchat, members of the CNMI community expressed their emotions about the election through words, emoticons, and even short clips.
Many political fights and attacks played out on Facebook—a new twist to an old system—with supporters and opponents exchanging accusations all over social media.
In the latest instance, many members of the CNMI community took to Facebook throughout election tabulation night to express their dissatisfaction with the system used to tabulate and tally this year’s votes.
In this election, the Commonwealth Election Commission broke with more than a decade of tradition and, instead of tabulating and tallying one precinct at a time and releasing the information as it is made available, it decided to tabulate and tally all the votes at once, and release the results all together. That new system was a surprise to many, who had to wait until sunup of the day after the election, to learn of the results.
As one social media user puts it, “I went to bed thinking I’d wake up and learn who the winners are. Instead, I learned that I have questions for the CEC.”
Precinct 1 Rep. Edwin Propst (Ind-Saipan), who also took to Facebook to vent his frustration at the slow count—at how upset he was that, after waiting for nine hours after all polls closed and all the ballots were collected, there was still no information yet from the CEC. He pointed out that, in the U.S. election, results were known even before the polls close.
The CNMI results were not released until around 6am Wednesday morning—nearly 12 hours after the polls officially closed.
Despite all the posts expressing disappointment in the CEC’s new and unannounced system, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram blew up with congratulatory messages from precinct constituents once the tally results were finally released.
There were also numerous posts of excitement from candidates who woke up to find that they won the election.
Social media outlets were also swarmed with sympathetic words for those who did not win this year’s election.