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CEE Finishes on Monday the General Counting and Begins to Determine Positions by Addition at the Senate

By on November 25, 2016

Liza Garcia, CEE President

Liza Garcia, CEE President

The State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish initials) finished on Monday the general counting of the votes for the past elections of November 8 and must resolve whether or not to give two additional seats to the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) at the Senate.

The plans of the president of the organism, Liza García, are to finish the counting this next Monday and proceed with the certification of the last elected candidates.

García stated that last week when a recess was decreed only 6,000 votes remained to be counted, some of which had been added by hand while others related to the early vote, which includes hospitalized people, inmates and CEE employees who worked on Election days.
“Everything is counted. What remains is to make the counting report. Only 6,000 votes remain,” Walter Pérez, secretary of the CEE, said.

Vélez indicated that the final certifications will be emitted by the CEE once the elected candidates take the course of the Comptroller Office on the use of public funds and the presentation of the financial situation of the state, as revised on September 30 of this year.

Meanwhile, the president of the commission indicated that she hopes to have by this Wednesday, a decision about the petition by the PDP of two additional seats in the Senate.

This week a hearing at the CEE was held in which three candidates interested in a seat presented their arguments to the electoral commissioners, but due to not reaching a consensus between the commissioners on the petition by the candidates, the matter passed to García’s hand who must resolve the situation.

Due to the lack of consensus by the commissioners on the matter, the electoral commissioner of the PDP, Guillermo San Antonio Acha, did not discard that the controversy would end up in court.

Some lawyers who are experts in electoral matters have established that if this controversy reaches the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, there is no precedent and the situation could arise that the majority of the judges resolve to hand those two seats to the minorities that do not belong to the PDP.

The PDP argues that the elected candidates-at-large:, José Vargas Vidot, independent, and Juan Dalmau, of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP by its Spanish initials), should not be considered senators that represent a party and in accordance to the Law of Minorities, the PDP has a right to the two additional seats.

“The only thing that is expressed is the size of the PDP delegation. We do not go into the dignity of the positions to which senators Vargas Vidot and Dalmau were elected,” San Antonio Acha indicated as he pointed out that Vargas Vidot does not represent any party and that Dalmau’s party did not end up registered, which means they should not be recognized as part of the minority as the commonwealth’s Constitution disposes
Meanwhile, the now-resigned electoral commissioner of the New Progressive Party (NPP), Aníbal Vega Borges, differs from this posture and hopes the president of the CEE soon resolves the matter.

Both the electoral commissioners of the PIP and the Working People’s Party (PPT by its Spanish initials), Roberto Iván Aponte and José Córdava respectively, believe the PDP is owed only one seat at the Senate due to the election of Vargas Vidot, who ran as an independent candidate.

The other three aspiring to the Senate by the PDP who were not favored by the electorate, but who have the majority of votes and seek the seats, Senator Ramón Ruiz and the candidates of Guayama Ángel Rodríguez and Juan Pablo Hernández believe that if there were to be seats these correspond to them.

The PDP only managed to get elected three senators-at-large and one by district but as the law of minorities came into play due to the NPP receiving more than two thirds (21) of the total amount of the 27 senators, the PDP was offered another three seats, but the party believes that their delegation should contain nine, not seven,because the independent candidates do not count in determining that third part.

In the past, voting schools with the official list of votes closed at 2,850,000 voters, of which 1,578,766 participated and of these 1,120,000 voted by party for the positions of governor and resident commissioner while another 410,740 voted by individual candidacy, an amount never before seen in the electoral process in Puerto Rico where the participation rounded 58%, one of the lowest in years.

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