6 Jun 2008

US Dept Interior turns down CNMI House of Reps election request

3:15 pm on 6 June 2008

The U.S. Department of the Interior has turned down a request from the Northern Marianas for money to conduct the election of a CNMI delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Saipan Tribune reports that CNMI's Resident Representative in Washington D.C., Pete Tenorio, asked the Office of Insular Affairs for help.

He says the local government cannot afford its first federal election because of budgetary problems, which are expected to worsen over the coming fiscal year.

The Commonwealth Election Commission has estimated the election to cost at least $50,000.

Nikolao Pula, the director of the Office of Insular Affairs, says states and territories have traditionally paid for the election of their representatives or delegates.

He says the voters of the CNMI will choose the delegate, and it is the responsibility of these voters, through their government to fund the election process.

The CNMI will be electing its first delegate to Congress in November.