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Puerto Rico pro-independence official accuses statehood party of wordplay

By on June 11, 2017

María de Lourdes Santiago, former gubernatorial hopeful of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (Rafelli González/CB)

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Electoral Commissioner María de Lourdes Santiago reacted to Gov. Ricardo Rosselló‘s remarks before he cast his vote for statehood in the political-status referendum being carried out Sunday, June 11.

Upon Santiago’s arrival to the State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish initials), Caribbean Business asked what her position regarding the governor’s statements in Guaynabo’s Colegio San José, in which he assured that, throughout history, federal endorsement hasn’t been necessary for any status referendums conducted in other U.S. territories that have been admitted as states, because he believes the people’s will should be binding enough to be admitted as a state.

 

“A binding process is one that takes place after a previous commitment by Congress to abide by the results. Even if this consultation had been approved by the Department of Justice, that did not constitute a binding and clear element, the NPP is trying to play with words to not accept that they have made a fool of themselves. They were left without the permission of the Department of Justice, without $2.5 million and with a process that lacks legitimacy to the extent that they are going it alone and that indications about the lack of transparency of this process are beginning to be seen,” Santiago said.

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Regarding existing guarantees through the Electoral Act, Santiago remained firm in her demand for a mechanism that would ensure greater transparency throughout the process, as she pointed to several irregularities that occurred just hours after polling schools opened.

Santiago, who ran for governor in the 2016 election, said some voters who are in Cabo Rojo’s Boquerón area for the weekend were lining up at a polling center there “with the intention of voting in that school even though that is precisely why we went to court and  the State Elections Commission’s resolution was upheld to prohibit that vote, stating that each person must vote at their electoral address.”

“Hundreds of inmates have been added by hand to the inmate vote without complying with the necessary documentation to ensure that they are legitimate votes. Those votes have to be declared null,” the PIP official said, adding that she obtained information about an official in Maunabo who “made the route of bedridden voters and kept the ballots for two days.”

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