22 Feb 2011

More cohesion under CNMI bill's precinct-less voting

8:23 am on 22 February 2011

The congressman behind a bill that would halve the number of Saipan members in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas' House of Representatives says it would enable lawmakers to work together better.

The initiative proposes a reduction to nine of the House members from Saipan as well as changes to the electoral system that would liberate voters from the restriction of precincts.

Joseph Palacios says the current system divides Saipan into precincts, and gives some precincts more representatives than others.

"And of course there are arguments that would arise or debates that would arise on certain bills that are being introduced locally but then some would challenge and from the other precinct by saying, Wait, wait, wait, that's our project, or our funding is for this project, and it became a pressing issue. To me, hey, this is just one island, it's a small island, 48 square miles, why can we not work together as one.."

Joseph Palacios says there's a lot of public support for his bill, which he'd like to see passed into law in time for the 2012 general election.