A bill proposing to extend the deadline for receiving absentee ballots was submitted last week. It seeks to extend the deadline to receive absentee ballots from 7 days to 10 days andextend the certification of the election by another 7 days. The bill was submitted by President Remengesau Jr. to both Senate President HokkonsBaules and House Speaker Sabino Anastacio on August 21, 2010.
The bill states that due to the “unprecedented” COVID-19 pandemic, disruption of international supply chains including international mail has impacted deadlines required in the Republic’s 2020 General Elections.
The bill does not attempt to change the date of the primary election or the general election. It proposes adjustment to the deadline set by law for receiving absentee ballots and certifying the election results of the 2020 general election.
Furthermore, the bill applies only to the 2020 General Election due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
At the leadership meeting last week, Palau’s Post Master Timothy Sinsak reported that the changes occurring within the United States Postal Service System and the once-a-week flight into Palau will greatly delay mail delivery and receipt.There is no guarantee that most of the absentee ballots sent out will be received in time or the ballots sent back, will meet the deadlines stated in the law.
The proposed bill seeks to remedy this by extending the required time to receive absentee ballots.