Crucial Meetings on Election Funding to be Held this Week
SAN JUAN – The president of the State Elections Commission (EEC by its Spanish initials), Liza García Vélez, and party elections commissioners will meet this week with Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials to determine whether the parties can count on the funds necessary to cover the costs of the upcoming primary and general elections.
The first meeting with the Treasury and OMB officials takes place Tuesday, in hopes of finding out exactly when the EEC’s providers will be paid in order to put together primaries slated for June 5.
The EEC is asking Treasury to pay Dominion Voting $2.6 million that was promised as part of $8 million owed since December for electronic vote-counting equipment to be used for the first time in the primaries.
The other pending payments include $4.6 million to the ballot-printing company and to the companies that prepare the voting booths and ballot boxes for that election.
On Wednesday, those same officials have been summoned to a public hearing by the Senate Government Committee, chaired by Ángel Rosa, to report on the status of the work performed or left ahead of both the primaries and the general election on Nov. 8.
The commissioners’ main concern is that the funds for these electoral events is available and payments are made so the pending commitments may continue as scheduled. The New Progressive Party’s (NPP) elections commissioner, Jorge Dávila, and the Popular Democratic Party’s Guillermo San Antonio both believe Treasury can make the payments and the electoral cycle won’t be affected.
So far, Dominion has provided the parties with machines for training polling station officials and the printing company has delivered 40,000 training ballots as well.
Former NPP elections commissioner Thomas Rivera Schatz has raised concerns about the EEC, saying it is not training polling officials to work directly with the ballots in case votes cannot be counted electronically should an insufficient amount of funds not be made available.