What is this?

Just some random musings .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Not Enough Time in the Day to Bitch!

I am swapped with things I would like to look into. I am looking over the newly enacted Labor Law of 2007. This is an eyeful.

I am also trying to figure out the regulations and laws pertaining to the absentee voting process in the CNMI. I have found so many discrepancies in the laws it is mind boggling that they had passed originally. Here is an example:

1 CMC § 6213(a) is amended to read as follows:
“(a) To be counted, an absentee ballot shall be postmarked not later than 10 days from the date of election and be received by the Commission not later than seven days after 12:00 noon on the date of election. If the Commission is using a post office box for the receipt of absentee ballots, it shall remove all absentee ballots contained in the box on and no later than fourteen days after 12:00 noon on the election date and such ballots shall be deemed to have been received within the deadline.

(1) Commencing with the date absentee ballots are first sent out until seven days after the 12:00 noon on the date of election, no less than two persons shall go to the post office, one of whom shall be designated by the Commission chairperson and the other of whom shall be designated by the Executive Director, to collect absentee ballots.

(2) The reply envelopes shall not be opened but shall be marked as provided in subsection (b) and deposited in a locked ballot box until processed by the Commission pursuant to subsections (c) through (h) seven days after the election.”

c. 1 CMC § 6213(h) is amended to read as follows:
“(h) The returned envelopes marked 'OK', together with the application attached, shall be delivered by the Commission to the accounting and tabulation committee seven days after on the day of the election, to be tabulated by the accounting and tabulation committee.”

There are so many things that scream "WTF" in this one section of the amended code.

I also wanted to look into who qualifies to receive and submit an absentee vote. How are the absentee ballots cross-checked to determine that the voter did not physically vote at a polling location on the day of the election and then also submit an absentee ballot (what precautionary measures are in place?). I have first hand accounts of voters who went to the polling places on Saturday and their names were not manually crossed off the computer print out listing. I fear that the names of absentee voters also appeared on these lists. What would stop someone from voting physically and then also mailing in an absentee ballot. A simple check would be to ensure that every individual that entered the polls on Saturday had their name crossed out on the computer generated listing (and initialed by the voter. As I did). Then when you receive the 1000 or so absentee ballots simply cross check the print out and determine if the person already voted on Saturday at a physical location. Not rocket science, however if the names were not being crossed of then it throws a major wrench into any cross checking procedure.

I am also still trying my best to stay on top of the Federal Senate and House Bills regarding CNMI immigration.

So much to do and so little time.


Kilili said...


We have had a relatively healthy relationship. Why don't you come to our office and I will show you that no voter who applied to vote absentee could also vote at the polls. We issued 1,517 absentee ballots and at 4 AM on election day, I verified that there were 1,517 names stricken from the rosters.

We take great caution, pain and effort to ensure that there are no more ballots cast than there are registered voters. Obviously, poll workers sometimes make mistakes at the polling places (I cannot be at all places at one time and the poll workers are individuals recommended by the political parties) and there were 3 mistakes made this year. We have already identified the 3 individuals and I also had to remove/replace the poll workers at one of the polling places on Saipan in mid-morning.. The third individual is being looked at by other officials for their desposition.

So, Plato, come to our office so we can show you how we ensure against an individual voting twice. Your information that a person who is issued an absentee ballot can vote at the polling place on election day is without basis and cannot be further from the truth.

On Saturday, we will again check the application to vote absentee against the affidavit of absentee voting to ensure that the individual who applied (their signatures have already been compared at least once) is the person casting the ballot.

The best way for you to see the process is if you come visit us. I'd be happy to show you how wrong you are on this one Plato.

Pragmatic Plato said...

I will take you up on that Kilili.

Just so you know, this wasn't an attack on you. I cannot imagine running an election in the CNMI.

I brought up the issue regarding the absentee ballots and my confusion after looking at that section of PL 15-89. I am so confused as to how that makes any sense and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

After getting 4 reports from voters in various precinct (I will bring you their names) that their names were not crossed off the listing at the polling place I began to wonder how a cross check of absentee voters can be accomplished.

I am assuming what you are stating is that all of the registered voters who applied for absentee ballots were struck from the list before the polls opened. Therefore, should a person show up that has already requested an absentee ballot they would not have been allowed to vote (their name would have had a line through it). Is this correct?

I understand that you are looking at the number of ballots issued and the number of votes cast and ensuring that the gross number evens out. The problem with the absentee votes is that the gross number issued 1517 will almost never be the amount of ballots received. this discrepancy makes this an unstable cross checking procedure.

I was thinking that the only way to ensure that the absentee ballots that you do receive are not from someone that had already voted on at one of the polls was to ensure full compliance with striking out their names on the listing at each polling location.

I will stop in this Monday if you are available. I will call first.

Please do not interpret my questioning as an attack on you or your office.

Boycott Porky's!


Kilili said...

No, Plato, no offense about your remarks. I trust you enough to know it is not an attack.

See you Monday, then.

Kilili said...

Oh, Plato, we should already be at our Capital Hill offices then.

kilili said...

Hey Plato, you never showed up and so I cannot get the prize for identifying you (Tamara wanted that also).

Okay, so I will continue to keep your identify just between the two of us (and everyone else I know on this island).

Pragmatic Plato said...

I was just about to say that you already know who I am.

I don't really care all that much if folks know me. I think I kep the mask on now-a-days just to mess with the anti-anonymous people. :-)

Sorry for stiffing you this time around. I will try and give you a ring one of these days to go over a few things. I would like to know your take on HB 15-91.

Boycott Porky's!