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Puerto Rico carries out successful voting drill over weekend

By on May 22, 2017

People are seen voting at the San Gerardo School in Río Piedras in this CB file photo.

SAN JUAN – An elections drill conducted at about 110 polling stations across Puerto Rico met the objectives set by the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish initials). It was possible to review the procedures because there are many new officials, CEE President Liza García Vélez said.

CEE President Liza García Vélez (CB file photo)

She explained that, as planned, officials from such agencies as the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority and wireless company Claro were on standby throughout the entire process to solve any problems that could arise. No technical or service failures were reported, she said.

During the drill, she said, 12 pre-marked ballots were sent, processed and received at the information center, which in turn prepared the results to be disclosed at the end of the vote.

García Vélez said a school used as a polling place could not be opened in Maunabo and two others opened late. “In general terms, we are meeting this week to evaluate the entire process and solve any problems detected,” García Vélez told Caribbean Business.

Last week, the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) presented a measure for the CEE to create a digital registry for voters to verify the status of their participation in electoral events. Party President Héctor Ferrer said the measure also seeks transparency in the voting process, especially for the June 11 status referendum, when only the New Progressive Party (NPP) will be participating.

The CEE closed the official voting list at the end of April with some 2,273,206 eligible voters, and there is considerable skepticism about the number of people who will participate in the referendum. Puerto Rican Independence Party Sen. Juan Dalmau, for instance, believes the NPP has a considerable challenge ahead in motivating a significant number of people for the vote so it does not end up a failure.

“In the 2012 elections, statehood won over 850,000 votes, and in the past general elections the NPP obtained about 630,000 votes. We’ll have to see how many votes this consultation gets,” Dalmau said, noting that he believes it will be very difficult for the party to achieve similar numbers in this vote.

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