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CEC has no jurisdiction over private property used for campaign activity

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COMMONWEALTH Election Commission Executive Director Julita Villagomez said all complaints regarding violations of the 300-foot prohibition of campaign activity near polling places are addressed immediately.

“The only place [over which] the CEC has no jurisdiction is privately owned property, even if the property is just 50 feet away from the polling place,” Villagomez added. “In regards to that we don’t have any say.”

Villagomez said it may take a while, but the CEC always looks into reports regarding violations of the 300-foot prohibition on campaign activity.

“We’re receiving at least two complaints a day [from both parties] since early voting started,” said CEC polling supervisor Kayla Igitol.

She said once they receive the complaint, they send either a police officer to the area or CEC staff themselves go to the site.  

Commonwealth Election Commission Executive Director Julita Villagomez poses with poll workers at the multi-purpose center on Thursday. Photo by Bryan Manabat

“Everyone should comply with the law, be respectful to each other, and allow the voters to decide for themselves,” Igitol said.

According to 1 CMC § 6528, “Polling Places: Three-Hundred-Foot Radius Prohibition of Campaign Activity”:

“Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not more than [five hundred] dollars or be imprisoned for not more than six months, or both. On a second offense or any succeeding offense, the penalty shall be a fine of not more than [one thousand] dollars or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.”

On Tinian, Igitol said there have been at least four complaints involving the 300-foot rule. “Some voters came  near the polling premises with campaign materials,” she said.

But the CEC Tinian resident director has addressed the issue and posted police officers outside the designated polling area, she added.

So far, no complaints have been received from Rota, Igitol said.

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