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Cidre files legal recourse to stop ballot’s printing to include campaign symbol

By on September 13, 2016

SAN JUAN – Independent gubernatorial candidate Manuel Cidre presented Tuesday a legal recourse petitioning the Court of First Instance to emit an order to the State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish initials) to halt printing and allow him to present his campaign’s symbol on the state ballot, to be represented the same as the traditional political parties.

The appeal recourse was presented Monday afternoon and is based on a rejected petition Cidre filed so the CEE provide the same ballot space to all gubernatorial candidates.

According to the independent candidate, his lawyers filed a request that the CEE’s final ballot design include his campaign’s symbol on the same space as the other parties’ symbols, which was rejected unanimously by the representatives of the four parties.

Manuel Cidre (CB/Juan J. Rodríguez Torres)

Manuel Cidre (CB/Juan J. Rodríguez Torres)

Cidre denounced that the CEE and the electoral commissioners’ intention “violates the equal right that every candidate must have in a democratic system. The CEE, protecting itself under the guise that the electronic ballot is smaller than for previous elections, intends to discriminate against my candidacy.”

He explained that only his picture is allowed, “without any distinctive campaign symbol, unlike the parties in the state ballot for the gubernatorial candidacy. This affects the visual impact and analysis on the ballot when voters exercise their suffrage.”

The legal recourse Cidre filed posits that the electoral commissioners’ decision “is contrary to Electoral Law itself.”

The document states that “fundamentally democratic elections require all candidates in electoral positions to have minimum potential as corollary to participation with equal conditions. The opposite would be unconstitutional.”

According to the document, the model electoral ballot shows four large boxes with the four main parties’ symbols and names. Under each frame figure the names and photographs of each party’s candidates for governor and resident commissioner. On the fifth column there is a large frame that explains how to vote for any of the independent candidates, and below are the pictures and names of the independent gubernatorial and resident commissioner candidates.

Cidre requested the instructions be displayed on the back of the ballot, so he may have space for his campaign symbol.

The candidate stressed that “through the electoral commissioners’ decision we can see, once again, that Puerto Rico’s political parties are all the same, and they exist to protect one another and defend their own existence above any democratic principle.”

He added: “in more than one occasion, Puerto Rico Supreme Court justices have expressed that democracy grows by expanding citizens’ freedom of expression, by enabling and not hindering unaffiliated candidates.”

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