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Tue November 6, 2012
Guam's Straw Poll Picks Obama, Overwhelmingly
NEAL CONAN, HOST:
It's already tomorrow, Wednesday morning, in the American territory of Guam, 15 hours ahead of East Coast time. Residents there don't get to vote for president, but they do hold a straw poll on Election Day. Those results are just in. Since 1984, Guam's straw poll has correctly predicted the winner of the U.S. presidential election.
Jayne Flores is a contributing reporter to KPRG, our member station in Guam, and she joins us now from her home in Mangilao.
And did I pronounce that correctly, or anywhere close to correctly?
JAYNE FLORES, BYLINE: Mangilao.
CONAN: Oh, good. Thank you very much for correcting me. And...
FLORES: Yeah. How's the day? How's the day?
CONAN: It's a beautiful day here in Washington. But I have to ask you: What's the result there in Guam?
FLORES: Well, the result here in Guam is overwhelmingly for President Obama: 23,067 votes for President Obama and 8,443 votes for challenger Mitt Romney, Governor Romney, and 357 votes for Mr. Johnson.
CONAN: Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate?
FLORES: Yes, yes.
CONAN: My math is just as bad as my pronunciation, but it's about three-to-one for President Obama.
FLORES: Yes, that's correct. And we had a 67 percent voter turnout. We normally have a very high election turnout on Guam. This is our mid-election year. It's a senatorial election. It's not a gubernatorial election. So last - in 2010, we had a gubernatorial election. We had 69 percent voter turnout. So a little bit less than 2010.
CONAN: So give us an idea about how this is conducted. You're obviously having those regular elections at the same time.
FLORES: Yes. The ballot has the mayoral candidates, the senatorial candidates, any kind of issues - we had a Proposition A, a gaming proposition on the ballot, judicial retentions and the presidential straw poll, all on the ballot. So you flip over, and so we have a pretty high voter turnout. There was no separate ballot for the presidential straw poll.
CONAN: And are these electronic voting machines?
FLORES: No. This is all hand ballots. We do have electronic machines that count the votes. And to give you an idea of how intimate our politics are out here on Guam, we name the voter counting machines. And we had four of them, and two of them were giving us some trouble, Larry and Al. And apparently, they were working all night, and they got Larry fixed. So we had three voter counting machines, and Al conked out on us. So it took until 5:30 this morning to count the votes.
CONAN: And is there some central location where all these paper ballots are ferried to?
FLORES: Yes. They are ferried to the University of Guam Field House.
CONAN: What was the problem with the counting machines?
FLORES: The election commission told us it was just something - it's an issue with age and the motherboard.
CONAN: OK. So, well, I guess the machines can get older there, after a time. And as you look at the results in your regular elections, are there any results that jump out at you?
FLORES: Well, we - our - we have a very strong Democratic Party here, and they've been in the legislature. They've controlled the legislature for the last two years. But we do seem to have, as with U.S. politics, go back and forth with control of the legislature and control of the governorship right now. We have a Republican governor. We have a Democratic member of Congress, a non-voting member of Congress. And right now, a Democrat - very strong Democrat-controlled legislature. We have 15 - that's a unicameral legislature. We have 15 members, and it's - we just - same nine-six vote, nine Democrats, six Republicans.
CONAN: And I wonder - we just have a few seconds left - why do you go to so much trouble to hold a presidential straw vote when your votes don't count?
FLORES: Just to be part of the nation. And so far, since 1984, how goes Guam, so goes the nation, so just to be part of everything.
CONAN: Jayne Flores, thank you very much for you time today. Appreciate it.
FLORES: Thank you.
CONAN: Jayne Flores, a longtime journalist in Guam. She joined us from her home there. Coming up, it's time to vote - no, not for president, for the best Election Day movie of all time.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It looks like we're on the edge of the biggest political upset in the history of our city.
CONAN: Our favorite film buff, Murray Horwitz, will join us. Get your nominee in now: 800-989-8255. Or you can lobby for your top Election Day flick by email. The address is email@example.com. Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.