Completion of Puerto Rico Election Day Count in Sight
Officials push through process despite over 200,000 mailed-in votes
SAN JUAN — The chairman of the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish initials), Francisco Rosado Colomer, said the completion of the initial portion of the ballot counting process—called the “night of the event” count, as it is the preliminary count of votes cast on Election Day—is near, and the agency can then proceed to conduct the General Scrutiny, as the law calls the final canvass of votes.
In previous elections, the night of the event count was usually completed by early morning the next day; however, the mail-in and early votes for this election went from a couple of thousand to 216,000. Although the process to count these votes, which is overseen by the Administrative Board of Early and Absentee Votes (JAVA by its Spanish acronym), beagan a week before the election, the process was far from over on election night.
Rosado indicated that there are 100 cases with ballots that are expected to be processed Friday. Of those, 48 boxes had already been opened by poll workers Thursday evening but who had not finished by the time the work stopped later in the night. The CEE official expects that even if there are early votes left to be counted, they will be included in the canvass tally so as to not delay obtaining the results.
“[We’ll count] as far as can be counted. Votes are always counted after the closing of the [night of the] event and the easiest example to corroborate that is the past elections. The difference in the candidacy of the governor, between the event and the scrutiny was 5,000 votes. Everything that is the vote added by hand is counted in the vote count,” the CEE chairman said. “We have to close the [night of the event] to start working on the logistics for how many recounts the numbers are reflecting so far.”
Rosado explained that the importance of finally closing the night of the event process is for the CEE to be able to publish preliminary certifications. Given the delays, the closing of precincts will be conducted differently.
“Ordinarily, what you do is wait until the entire event is closed before you start printing all the results from the Reydi [Spanish acronym for the Receipt and Disclosure of Results System] and issuing preliminary certifications. We try to [do the work] as normally as possible here, but we are not in a normal or ordinary situation. What we want to evaluate is whether we can do it gradually instead of waiting to close everything,” the official said.