Significant Turnout May Be Working Against Democrats
SAN JUAN – At least in San Juan, voter turnout could put to rest some of the worries that may have kept awake local Democratic leaders last night. But such victory may also end up working against the party at the end of the day.
Early Sunday, at the Pachín Marín School in Floral Park, one of only two polling centers assigned for San Juan’s 2nd precinct, Democratic party members started to line up, waiting for their turn to cast their vote either for Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders. By 9:15 a.m. the line meandered around the school with more than 100 voters, some impatiently asking, “How long is this going to take?”
The same situation was seen in San Juan’s 1st precinct, specifically at the San Jorge School in Santurce. It at least had a voting booth. Even though the elections commission had anticipated there would be no voting booths for the Democratic primary polling stations, at least some in San Juan were available.
However, that was not the case for the Colegio Perpetuo Socorro in Miramar, where people had to vote while sitting in desks that faced the wall. One of the officials there, who did not identify herself, said the voting booths had not arrived by the time voting began, so they opted for that alternative. She said the booths arrived about an hour after voting had started, but it was decided voting would continue without the booths.
The discomfort was in contrast to a satisfactory experience with the Popular Democratic (PDP) and New Progressive (NPP) party primaries, in which some had cast their votes using new electronic equipment. Other voters expressed they had opted to vote first in the presidential primary and the local primary later.
However, some are opting not to wait in line, anticipating long waits or because they are unable to do so due to health conditions or their age, and leave after getting a glimpse of the long line.
The State Election Commission had previously announced it had consolidated most of the polling schools usually available in each precinct at election time due to budget limitations. Democrats will have little more than 200 polling stations to cast their votes, and many are quite distant from the schools (1,500) assigned for the PDP and NPP primary.
While for the local parties’ primaries new voting technology is having a dress rehearsal for the November election, schools where the Democratic primary lack such technological advances.