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Election official: Polling places are well maintained

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COMMONWEALTH Election Commission administrative officer Kayla Igitol on Monday said all polling booths are sanitized and cleaned as part of the government’s Covid-19 directives.

She said everything is wiped, including the secrecy sleeves once a voter has cast his or her vote.

Sablan Top Line Company has been contracted to sanitize and clean the polling booths at each of the polling places, and this includes wiping and spraying everything that voters may have touched, Igitol said.

“This is done each time a voter exits the booth,” she said, adding  that no booth can be used unless it has been sanitized and cleaned.

Igitol said there are about 10 booths at the multi-purpose center in Susupe, six at the Koblerville Youth Center, eight at the Kagman Community Center, and six at the Tanapag Youth Center.

She said the safety measures the CEC has implemented were reviewed and approved by the Covid-19 Task Force.

The first week of early voting for Saipan and Northern Island residents, as well as Rota and Tinian residents temporarily residing on Saipan, began on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Since then, sanitization of the polling places has also been going smoothly, Igitol said.

“Everything’s been running smoothly this first week of early voting, with regard to sanitizing and also the voters coming in with masks and practicing social distancing and just adhering to the Covid-19 directives,” she said.

“It’s been really smooth. I hope it stays this way throughout the election [period].”

On Election Day, Nov. 3, which is a holiday, the polling places will be located at schools.

CNMI voters are electing a delegate to the U.S. Congress (the incumbent is running unopposed), 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.

As of Sept. 9, 2020, the CNMI had 18,517 registered voters. Of this number, 14,724 were Saipan voters. The Northern Islands had 162; Tinian, 1,706; and Rota, 1,925.

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