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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

House to summon State Elections Commission to explain chaos at primaries

House Constitutional and Electoral Affairs Committee Chairman José Varela Fernández

By The Star Staff

House Constitutional and Electoral Affairs Committee Chairman José Varela Fernández announced Tuesday he will summon State Elections Commission (SEC) Interim Chairwoman Jessika Padilla Rivera to account for the multiple problems that arose during the primaries on Sunday.

“Both the reports from various media outlets and the information received from our sources show multiple problems with organizing the primary process and disseminating the results, which must be corrected to avoid chaos during the upcoming general elections,” Varela said. “Among others, we know that there were problems with the selection and location of voting centers, failures with the operation of the counting machines, long lines due to the slow operation of those machines, problems with the management of the so-called ‘e-poll book,’ interruptions of the electrical energy service in the voting centers and delays with the management and disclosure of early voting, among others.”

The SEC used vote-counting machines provided by Dominion, but they sometimes malfunctioned.

“The purpose of incorporating all these new technologies was to facilitate the process of casting and counting votes, and achieve accurate results in much less time,” Varela noted. “That purpose was not fulfilled in these primaries. So far, the best that can be said is that at least the vote could be carried out in a single day, unlike 2020.”

Around 400,000 Popular Democratic Party and New Progressive Party voters participated in this past Sunday’s primaries. Nearly 2 million voters are registered for the general elections.

“We have only five months before the next electoral event, in which much more participation is expected than there was in these primaries,” the legislator said. “Suppose the SEC does not refine the processes. In that case, we run the risk of facing another election as chaotic as that of 2020, which is not acceptable to anyone. For this reason, the SEC must prepare, not to make excuses, but to inform the people how it will guarantee that the general election process is reliable.”

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