Guam governor cancels primary due to COVID-19

Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (D) signed a bill on August 28 to cancel the primary taking place on August 29 amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Bill 391 was passed in the Guam Legislature by a 12-3 vote on August 27. The Guam Election Commission said that it wasn’t confident it could conduct a safe election while Guam remains under lockdown due to the pandemic.

Guerrero signed an executive order on August 27 to extend Guam’s public health emergency an additional 30 days. At the time of the executive order, Guam had recorded 1,232 coronavirus cases and 10 deaths. Governor Guerrero and Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio (D) both tested positive for coronavirus in early August.

Officials looked at options for postponing the primary, but any delay would prevent Guam from meeting federal requirements for the general election. Bill 391 extends the window for voters to cast in-office absentee ballots by 15 days. Absentee ballots will be accepted starting on September 19. The bill also requires that the Election Commission submits a safety plan to the legislature by September 14.

All primary candidates automatically advance to the general election on November 3. This means that some races will have multiple candidates from the same party on the general election ballot. In the election for Guam’s non-voting member in the U.S. House, incumbent Michael San Nicolas (D) is running against Robert Underwood (D) and William Castro (R) in the general election.

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