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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

ACLU files friend of the court brief in appeal from disqualified candidates

Lillian Aponte Dones, Citizen Victory Movement electoral commissioner (Facebook)

By The Star Staff

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a “friend of the court” brief to intervene in the appeal to overturn a lower court ruling that disqualified five political candidates from running for office in Puerto Rico’s upcoming elections, the first amendment rights group announced Wednesday.

The ACLU demanded that the commonwealth Court of Appeals allow democracy to take its course and validate the duly presented, elected and certified candidacies.

“The ACLU joins the demand that Judge Anthony Cuevas’s abusive and anti-democratic decision be revoked due to its impact on our constitutional rights, as protected in our constitution and that of the United States and under international declarations of human rights,” the ACLU stated in its appeal filed Tuesday.

Citizen Victory Movement (MVC by its Spanish initials) Electoral Commissioner Lillian Aponte Dones pointed out that the ACLU’s entry into the lawsuit reflects the feelings of the majority of the people on the matter.

“The country is outraged by this recent attack on democracy,” she said. “We thank the ACLU for speaking out on this critical issue and joining the country’s demand to include the candidacies presented by our party on the ballot. We are confident that the Court of Appeals will revoke Judge Cuevas’ decision and vindicate our candidacies.”

A group of candidates for legislative positions from the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) filed a lawsuit in February in the San Juan Court of First Instance against more than a dozen candidates from the MVC) and Dignity Project (PD).

The plaintiffs, who include District 22 Rep. Jorge Alfredo Rivera Segarra and Guayama District Sen. Héctor Torres Santiago, argued that the MVC candidates failed to comply with the endorsement collection requirements established by the 2020 Electoral Code.

Last month, Cuevas agreed and disqualified candidates from both the MVC and PD.

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