I AM writing to thank you for your March 23 editorial on election reform. You took what I believe to be an extreme position on free and fair elections, and recognized just how flawed Guam’s elections have been handled. The Guam Election Commission (GEC) has detailed the findings of its internal audit of the 2010 general election, citing both fraudulent acts and inaction surrounding Guam’s elections. These findings were forwarded to the Attorney General some time ago, and action is still pending. Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo expressed her support for this election reform measure, and has asked the AG and U.S. Attorney to look into the allegations of voter fraud and electioneering.
Although the Variety writes that “[T]he problem is, however, that it’s already in our past. We’ve moved on," I suggest we consider what George Santayana wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Those who are not in favor of auditing the past election, like Gov. Eddie Calvo and yourself, are demanding that voters need to “move on.” Individuals in this group are condemning our people by forcing them to endure yet another flawed election.
Immediately following the vote on Bill 413-31, I addressed Speaker Judi Won Pat and our colleagues, saying this bill should not have passed along party lines, turning it into a partisan issue. The work toward providing free and fair elections in any democracy should be done by everyone, and not by any one political party. The concerns raised by the election reform bill on the 2010 general election are valid because the problems of that election are what brought us to this point.
Although you may have tried to walk a fine line in your editorial regarding this now very partisan issue (thanks to the vote on the bill and Gov. Calvo pointing a finger at the Gutierrez camp), I am sure the Variety’s approach was designed to not upset Gov. Calvo. However, your final result ended up tripping on its own words by advancing the need for election reform while simultaneously asking voters to move on.
Clearly voters do want to move on, and the best way is to examine the past election by counting the hundreds of provisional and absentee ballots that were NOT counted; acknowledging the thousands of voters illegally purged from the voter listing; reconciling the ballot stock versus used and spoiled ballots; and confirming for the general public, in a non-binding way, if in fact the outcome of the 2010 election remains the same.
“Consent of the governed,” as found in the Declaration of Independence, states that it is up to the people to provide the government with whatever legitimate and moral authority it may have. Bill 413-31 can give Gov. Calvo the opportunity to remove the cloud hovering over his governorship, and would immediately do so once he signs it into law and it is fully implemented by GEC.
I will continue to urge the governor to sign this election reform bill into law so we can all move on together, instead of just those voters who were in support of a new direction.
Sen. Rory J. Respicio,
31st Guam Legislature