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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Federal officials accuse 4 postal workers of delaying early vote mail

W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico

By The Star Staff

A federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned four indictments charging four U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employees assigned to the 65th Infantry Post Office in San Juan with the delaying of early-vote mail, W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, announced on Thursday.

The USPS is responsible for transporting and delivering absentee and early voter ballots in Puerto Rico, which is recognized by the USPS as election mail. In September 2022, the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission conducted a Special Election for the San Juan, Puerto Rico District 1 Senate vacancy. As part of the Commission’s services provided for the Special Election, in August 2022, the Administrative Board of Absentee Voting and Early Voting (JAVAA by its Spanish initials) mailed ballots to certain eligible voters in Puerto Rico, via USPS certified mail service.

Four individual mail carriers, employed by the USPS, delayed and did not deliver a total of 40 pieces of election mail from the September 2022 Special Election to domiciled active voters in San Juan. More specifically: On Aug. 5, 2022, Christian Benny Díaz Nieves, a postal carrier technician, unlawfully delayed and did not deliver 22 pieces of election mail; on Aug. 6, 2022, Jonathan David Javier Pinango, a postal city carrier assistant 1, unlawfully delayed and did not deliver 12 pieces of election mail; on Aug. 5, 2022, Michael Negrón Cabrera, also a postal city carrier assistant 1, unlawfully delayed and did not deliver one piece of election mail; and from Aug. 5, 2022 through Aug.15, 2022, María de Lourdes Martínez Garriga, a postal city carrier, unlawfully delayed and did not deliver five pieces of election mail.

Each USPS employee was charged separately with unlawful delay of mail and has not been charged with participating in a conspiracy or a scheme to impact the special election. The USPS Office of the Inspector General (USPS-OIG) is investigating the case with the FBI, consistent with the mission to ensure efficiency, accountability, and integrity in the U.S. Postal Service, officials said.

“Our democracy depends on the right of eligible voters to cast a ballot and to have that ballot counted,” Muldrow said. “If voters do not receive their ballots, they cannot execute one of our fundamental rights as United States citizens, the right to vote. The U.S. Attorney’s Office along with our law enforcement partners will continue to protect this fundamental pillar of our society.”

Joseph González, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Juan Field Office, added that “[p]ublic officials across all government agencies must understand that they are held to a higher standard.”

“The people depend on us, and those unwilling to execute their duties only hurt the communities we are meant to serve,” he said. The defendants are scheduled for their initial court appearances today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Giselle López Soler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

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1 Comment

Oscar Melendez
Oscar Melendez
Mar 15

Vote by mail allows election fraud to flourish. Eliminate vote by mail. Only a very limited number of people should vote by mail. FBI should be investigating election fraud by democrats. It is rampant and the FBI is not doing anything to stop it

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