22 November 2010

Lawsuit Calls for New Elections in Guam


Written by Kevin Kerrigan
PNC Pacific News Center
Guam News

Guam - Lawyers for the Gutierrez-Aguon Gubernatorial Campaign this afternoon [Friday] filed a lawsuits in District Court seeking to overturn the results of the 2010 Gubernatorial Election that has already been certified in favor of the rival Republican team of Calvo-Tenorio.

The lawsuit was filed by Attorney David Lujan on behalf of Carl Gutierrez ... Frank Aguon Jr...The Democratic Party of Guam and 1-thousand John Doe's ...citizens of Guam, all of whom, the lawsuit alleges, were "illegally and arbitrarily deprived of their right to vote." Among the factual allegations in the lawsuit are:

* locked ballot boxes were opened at polling sites ... secret ballots were removed and exposed to the public
* ballots were removed by Guam Election Commission Executive Director John Blas who transported them to other polling sites.

* absentee ballots were destroyed or removed

* absentee ballots were not mailed to voters who requested them

* absentee ballots were mailed too late for voters to return them in time

* registered voters were turned away at numerous polling sites and not allowed to vote

* the chain of custody was compromised when ballots were secured and held by a private security company owned and/or controlled by Republican Lt. Gubernatorial candidate Ray Tenorio.

* the number of ballots issued to voters did not match the number of ballots returned at various precincts

* residents of other U.S. jurisdictions ... like Saipan, were allowed to vote in Guam's election.

* underage voters were allowed to cast ballots

*illegal ballots were counted

*voting tabulation machines malfunctioned

The lawsuit also reveals new totals in the election count:

Calvo-Tenorio: 19,879 or 50.38 %
Gutierrez-Aguon 19,296 or 48.90 %

* 484 over-votes
* 702 under-votes

On the issue of the over and under votes, the lawsuit notes that the tabulation machines rejected those votes on November 2ed election night. But the Election Commission Board Members spent much of their time during the re-count on November 6th trying to determine voter intent. But that process too comes under criticism in the lawsuit which states:

"The machine re-count ... included numerous incidents of ballots being chewed up/mutilated by the machines ... and there were problems with several machines ... several additional recounts had to be done for at least 6 precincts." But "despite the fact of the obvious failures of the tabulation machines ... the GEC (Guam Electoral Commission) accepted and certified the results of the machine recount."

The lawsuit cites violations of the 5th and 4th Amendments to the Constitution and it also cites the Guam Organic Act and the Help America Vote Act which all guarantee that a citizens right to vote may not be arbitrarily denied.

The lawsuits suit seeks:

*declare the results of the election for governor and lt. governor certified by the GEC legally invalid

*require the GEC to schedule and conduct a new election at the earliest practicable time.