The attorney for Ben Blaz, the Guam delegate to the House of Representatives, said yesterday there was nothing irregular about Blaz's defeat of longtime delegate Antonio B. Won Pat. He asked a special House task force to dismiss a request for a runoff election.
Democrat Won Pat, who had represented the Pacific island since 1973, has alleged "substantial irregularities" in the November election for the nonvoting delegate.
But the lawyer for Republican Blaz, Lawrence Halloran, told a task force of the House Administration Committee, "What they're asking for is a second bite of the apple for the loser of the election. Won Pat has failed to challenge the threshold presumption of the validity of the findings on the Guam Election Board."
He said that Won Pat had not filed a timely request for a runoff and waived most of his complaints by not objecting to the election procedure ahead of time.
James G. O'Hara, Won Pat's lawyer, said the territory "had blatantly violated" federal election laws by rejecting absentee ballots that arrived too late to be counted.
O'Hara also asserted that the Guam Election Commission erred when it decided not to count blank ballots placed in the boxes toward the total number of votes cast. The delegate from Guam must receive a majority of the votes.
"Now it might've been a voter saying, 'We don't want either of these turkeys,' . . . but it was a vote," O'Hara said.