Fiscal board grants another $1.2 million to SEC to finish primary elections

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

Even though the Financial Oversight and Management Board authorized a $42.6 million budget for the State Elections Commission (SEC) that included $9 million for this year, the board authorized the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday to grant over $1.2 million to the SEC to complete the primary elections, which -- for now -- will resume this Sunday from 8 a.m to 4 p.m.

Oversight Board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko said that as the board is committed to Puerto Rico’s electoral process and citizens’ rights, it has authorized the SEC the additional funds to finish the event that has been in process since Aug. 2. Furthermore, she said, the oversight board recognizes that effective spending is fundamental to guaranteeing the primary elections.

“The resources can be diverted from other budget priorities only to guarantee an effective electoral process,” Jaresko said.

Meanwhile, SEC Chairman Juan Dávila Rivera said that in order to complete Sunday’s primary elections, the commission requested detailed reports from both New Progressive Party Electoral Commissioner María Dolores “Lolín” Santiago and Popular Democratic Party Electoral Commissioner Lind Merle Feliciano on Monday as part of its work plan. Nonetheless, those reports have not been revealed in their entirety.

The SEC also released a letter on its official website which said that precincts from both parties that were unable to open last Sunday will do so this Sunday (Aug. 16) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Likewise, both electoral commissioners said the packaging of ballots for next Sunday was finished.

“All administrative measures will be used to conclude the primary elections that might happen on Sunday,” the SEC said in its letter. “It is up to the commissioners’ office to implement logistics for the next event.”

For last Sunday’s primary elections, Dávila Rivera said in a Radio Isla interview that the SEC used $800,000 from a COVID-19 emergency fund to relieve a $2 million deficit.

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