August 1, 2021

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Counting of advanced votes begins in a short CEE of officials

The Administrative Board of Early and Absentee Voting (JAVA) of the State Elections Commission (CEE) began there to count the votes of tens of thousands of envelopes that he has been receiving by mail in the past weeks, and waiting for shipments from all over the island with the votes that have been administered at home.

The electoral commissioner of the New Progressive Party (PNP), Hector Joaquin SanchezHe specified that today about 50 counting tables were operating with the presence of at least two political parties. Sánchez and the commissioner of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), Roberto Ivan AponteThey said separately that these two communities were the only ones with representation at all the tables.

The PNP commissioner mentioned that the vote-by-mail ballots were being awarded in order of precinct, so those of voters registered in precincts from 1 to 50 would be attended. In total, Puerto Rico is divided into 110 precincts, therefore that JAVA enabled that amount of tables.

Subway had access to an email from the former electoral commissioner of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) Héctor Luis Acevedo in which he urged supporters of the community to volunteer for the counting of advanced votes.

Former electoral commissioner Héctor Luis Acevedo warned that the PPD was short of staff at JAVA for the beginning of the early vote count. / Supplied

This medium tried to communicate with the current commissioner of La Pava, Nicolas Gautier, as well as those of the Citizen Victory Movement Y Dignity Project, Olvin Valentine Y Juan Frontera Suau, respectively, but got no response.

Today they would go through the electronic counting machines “all the (ballots) that have arrived from that precinct. Today, for example, we already have 32,000 early voting (envelopes) by mail. Those ballots, the district boards mark them in the JAVA module in order to document that the ballot arrived. If it is duplicated, it is sent to a special table so that two votes are not counted for one voter, but the second envelope or second ballots are rendered useless, ”explained Sánchez.

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The New Progressive commissioner indicated that in addition to the 32,000 envelopes that have been returned, the JAVA has also received another 3,000 absentee votes. Each envelope must include four ballots, taking into account the one corresponding to the ‘statehood yes or no’ plebiscite.

The EEC received little more than 57,000 early voting requests by mail and almost 7,000 absentee vote for these general elections.

“Today 70% of the vote at home arrives (at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum)” that has been administered since Saturday, Sánchez added.

The results cannot be released until November 3, once the regular schools close.

Aponte, for his part, pointed out that the president of the EEC, Francisco Rosado Colomer, has estimated that the JAVA could pass through the counting machines up to 200,000 early voting ballots daily.

“That depends on the representation of the parties,” warned Commissioner Pipiolo.

“Everything” in home voting

In the first two days of vote at home, requested by more than 105,000 voters nationwide, Aponte pointed out that “there have been all” kinds of situations.

“The reality is that sometimes the determinations of the local commissions also vary. If there is no consensus, the presiding judge of the precinct decides, and they do not necessarily make the same determination. If there is a route with only one college official, perhaps one presiding judge says leave and another would decide not. That depends on the presiding judge, ”Aponte stressed.

The commissioner offered the example of a Barranquitas voter who was allegedly visited by two different routes.

“This irregularity is brought to a local commission and it went up here to the EEC. We decided to arrest those briefcases to ensure that only one vote of that voter is counted and it is pending if that voter is going to be investigated because they consciously voted twice, “said Aponte.

Another irregularity apparently occurred on a route from San Sebastián, where PNP and PPD officials agreed to visit the voters affiliated with their respective parties separately.

“The one from the PIP objected and it was the presiding judge who said that this could not be done. But perhaps in another place one does not know what the presiding judge ends up deciding. Unfortunately there is no uniformity, “said Aponte, urging voters to report any irregularities to the Permanent Enrollment Meetings, the EEC or the Police.

Sánchez, meanwhile, classified the first two days of voting at home as a “totally successful” process, particularly due to the speed with which the votes were collected.

“From what my commissioners have reported to me, with what I met yesterday through Zoom, most of them told me that they had already impacted more than 80% (of households) on Saturday and Sunday. For example, in Corozal, which had 2,274 voters at home, what is missing is 54. They already finish today. And so in most of the precincts they are ending today, ”said Sánchez.

Waiting for the Supreme

On the other hand, both Aponte and Sánchez anticipated that the Supreme court would welcome the certification resource requested by the second, for the High Forum to decide on a challenge by the PPD to a resolution of Rosado Colomer, which allows the EEC to notify early voting voters by mail that they did not include a valid identification when returning the about to submit the documentation.

“The expectation is that he speaks clearly as soon as possible to establish the rules of the game. This case seems to me that it is clear what the new Electoral Code but we must be pending the determination, “said Aponte, who, like the other minority commissioners, opposes the mechanism established by Rosado Colomer.

“We are defending the right of the voter. There are voters who, due to haste or confusion, forgot (include identification). I have many older voters that I know and that has happened to them. Is their right going to be restricted? That is our defense. For some things the Code is good and for other things, (according to the) Popular Party, it is bad. They have always complained about the Code. Now they are suddenly proposing that voters’ rights be taken away, even theirs. The sacred right of democracy is the right to vote ”, argued Sánchez.

Sánchez and Aponte mentioned that, while the courts decide whether to uphold or revoke the resolution of the president of the EEC, the envelopes that arrive without identification will be kept apart.

According to Sánchez, until yesterday the JAVA had recorded 4,150 early voting envelopes by mail, of which “only 75” did not have identification.

Today at 11:00 am the commissioners and the EEC should have submitted to the Supreme Court their respective arguments in favor or against that body addressing the controversy.

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