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Governor: Go out and vote

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres on Tuesday urged registered voters to cast their ballots now that the early voting period for Saipan and the Northern Islands has started.

The polling centers on Saipan are the Koblerville Youth Center, the multi-purpose center in Susupe, the Tanapag Youth Center and the Kagman Community Center.

Voters are electing a delegate to the U.S. Congress, three senators, 20 House members, nine municipal council members and three Board of Education members. Voters will also decide whether or not to retain Associate Justice Perry Inos, Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja and Judge Kenneth Govendo.

“Voting starts today, for the next 21 days leading up to November 3,” the governor said in a press briefing Tuesday. “This is an opportunity for our community to go out and vote. Make your vote count.”

He added, “I hope that we can get a high voter turnout this year. I know normally [during] midterm [elections], [voter turnout] is lower, but this year, I hope we can get more members of our community to go out and vote.”

 

At the Kagman Community Center, election commission staffers install signs to comply with the Covid-19 prevention measures. Photo by Bryan Manabat

The governor said for Tinian and Rota, early voting will begin about seven days prior to Nov. 3.

Because the third senatorial district — Saipan and the Northern Islands —  is composed of a much larger community compared to Tinian and Rota, early voting begins earlier for Saipan and the Northern Islands, he said.

“Again, I encourage everyone to please come out and vote,” the governor added,

Safety guidelines

For his part, Warren Villagomez, who chairs the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force, said they have been working closely with the Commonwealth Election Commission and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. in providing all of the necessary safety guidelines.

“For the daily voting activities, [on Monday night], we coordinated with the election office to sanitize [and] disinfect the voting sites,” Villagomez said, adding that they will be coming up with schedules for these services.

He said the election commission has also reached out to a cleaning service company.

“I can tell you that the election commission has put in a lot of work, a lot of planning and added more workers for assistance,” Villagomez said.

He said a new element in this year’s elections is curbside voting, which allows constituents to cast their ballots from their vehicles.

He said the goal is to make sure  public health and safety remains a priority as citizens exercise their right to vote.

“We are monitoring on a daily basis to make sure that the rules  are in place and are observed. Please, I ask our community to adhere to the poll workers’ instructions as we facilitate this new process.... We want to continue to be a safe CNMI,” Villagomez said.

Moving forward

The governor said he is confident that voters know what direction the CNMI is heading, and how their government is taking care of the community.

He said no one can deny that the government “and the Republican Party, together with all members of the community, have taken extra precautionary measures to make sure that not just the elders are taken care [of], but everyone else in the CNMI [as well].”

He added, “With everything that is thrown at the administration, whether it’s a typhoon or a pandemic, we continue to work forward despite the false accusations and false information that’s been thrown out.”

He said his administration continues “to do what’s good for the CNMI and continues to come up with solutions.” The retirees, he noted, are still receiving their pensions.

“I believe that our community knows that we’ve been taking care of our community, so I believe, of course, that the Republican Party will prevail…because I believe in our community,” he added.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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