Natal Albelo calling for investigation into surplus ballots in SJ voting unit

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

Citizen Victory Movement (CVM) San Juan mayoral candidate Manuel Natal Albelo said Wednesday he is requesting an investigation into alleged irregularities related to mail-in early voting ballots from Unit 77 of San Juan Precinct 1.

Natal Albelo said the claim is due to the CVM finding some 772 additional early voting ballots, after the State Elections Commission (SEC) approved only 3,236 citizen requests for early voting.

“Unit 77, which is the unit where there is mail voting, home voting, absentee voting, is the unit that has not yet been reported, and why has it not been reported? Because the allegations that we have been making since the night of the election cannot be resolved from one moment to the next,” Natal Albelo said. “What they did at the State Elections Commission in order to create the false impression that this election was decided on Nov. 3 itself, is now costing those who decided to act negligently.”

The CVM candidate for mayor of San Juan also called out the SEC for allegedly receiving orders from New Progressive Party (NPP) mayoral candidate Miguel Romero’s campaign director, Ángel Cintrón, “requesting the commission to count early votes, which made the SEC give priority to the early votes cast in San Juan.”

“Today, they’re seeing the consequences, as they were trying to count those early votes hurriedly,” he said. “They mixed mail voting ballots with home voting ballots.”

“That is why 29 days after the elections, the NPP can’t complete what they wanted to do, which was to put an end to the elections from the first day,” Natal Albelo added. “That’s why Ángel Cintrón, in a press conference like this one at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 was saying to close the [ballot] containers, to stop counting and to certify Romero as the mayor-elect of San Juan, because they didn’t want us to find what we found.”

The CVM candidate said that in the coming days, “the NPP will try to resolve this mess in the following manner: as I told you all, they will count municipal ballots that they have from San Juan Precinct 1 in Unit 77, they will set a number, and as long as that number does not exceed the request numbers, that’s it, nothing happened.”

“It does not matter that they did not follow the minimum safeguards of an electoral process, and they will try to certify a person as a winner of an electoral process,” Natal Albelo said, calling such actions “a great irresponsibility.”

Meanwhile, although Natal Albelo said he recognized that he has taken the lead over Romero by more than 2,400 votes with around 84 percent of the registered polling stations reporting tabulation results, he wouldn’t feel certain enough to claim himself as the capital city mayor-elect because the chaotic electoral event “has cast a shadow across every candidate.”

Earlier in the day, CVM Electoral Commissioner Olvin Valentín, along with San Juan District 3 candidate for the House of Representatives Eva Prados, called on the SEC to investigate the alleged appearance of suspicious early voting ballots and to address a general vote count process violation.

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