Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Endorsement Filings Moving Forward at the CEE

By on February 6, 2016

Two of the three independent candidates aspiring to be elected governor of Puerto Rico in the November 2016 elections have reached the minimum 50% of endorsements required by Feb. 1, submitting some 16,000 endorsements each.

As of Monday, La Fortaleza hopefuls Alexandra Lúgaro, who is an attorney, and businessman Manuel Cidre, who is the founder of the local bakery-goods chain Los Cidrines, still had some 10,000 endorsements to submit—or some 700 endorsements needed per day until the Feb. 15 deadline—to be officially certified as candidates.

Last week, Cidre and his team were seen seeking endorsements at a baseball game in the finals series between the Santurce Cangrejeros and the Mayagüez Indios at San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Meanwhile, Lúgaro and her team have been seen at local beaches and malls also seeking endorsements.

People voting Meanwhile, as of Jan. 28, Ramón López Vergué, a doctor from Aguadilla, has yet to submit any endorsements, which places him in a tough spot in meeting the first requirement of filing 50% of the 26,882 endorsements required from independent candidates before their candidacies can be made official.

The primaries laws in Puerto Rico require that by Feb. 15, aspiring candidates file 100% of all their endorsements to be certified as candidates.

Ricardo “Ricky” Rosselló and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, both aspiring gubernatorial candidates from the pro-statehood New Progressive Party, have already completed the official quota of 8,000 endorsements and were certified as candidates by the State Elections Commission (CEE).

As the only candidate for governor from the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party, former Secretary of State David Bernier was already certified, as were the candidates from the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), Sen. Maria de Lourdes Santiago, and from the Working People’s Party, university Prof. Rafael Bernabe.

CEE Secretary Walter Vélez said to accelerate the process of validating endorsements, the CEE has eliminated the requirement of including the residential address of the person who signs the document.

“This issue of providing the residential address was one of the factors why many of the endorsement documents werePeople voting 2 returned. By eliminating this requirement, the process of validating endorsements should show significant progress,” Vélez told Caribbean Business.

A few weeks ago, the electoral commissioners of the four registered parties in Puerto Rico agreed to increase the number of voters per voting college from 325 to at least 425. As a result, there could be a decrease of available colleges on the day of the general elections on Nov. 8.

The PIP’s electoral commissioner, Roberto Iván Aponte, said the executive branch had promised to remit by mid-February some $6 million for the primaries, which would be added to the $1.2 million that it had already given to the CEE in December. The amount is part of the total $10 million approved to finance the local primaries on June 5.

With Puerto Rico mired in a fiscal and economic crisis and given the evident lack of money in the government’s coffers, the CEE’s second vice president, Milagros “Lolín” Santiago urged Gov. Alejandro García Padilla to identify as soon as possible the funds to finance the electoral cycle this year, which includes the primaries and the general elections, as well as the CEE’s administration expenses.

The CEE has requested a total $90.6 million for this electoral year, of which $29.7 million are for the general elections; $10 million for primaries; $18 million for the general elections (including special ballots and other materials), and $33 million for the CEE’s administration.

“I urge the governor to identify as soon as possible this money and assign the funds,” Santiago said.

Editor Rosario Fajardo, CB editor contributed to this story.

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