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PDP calls out NPP Luquillo electoral commissioner over possible electoral fraud

Sen. Torres announces electoral transaction involving person who died in 2019

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Aníbal José Torres and Luquillo Mayor Jesús “Jerry” Márquez Rodríguez demanded on Tuesday that New Progressive Party (NPP) Luquillo mayoral candidate Luis Rodríguez and his municipal electoral commissioner, Jan Febo Cabrera, explain irregularities involving two registered mail-in early voting transactions in the northeastern coastal municipality.

Torres said one of the transactions involved Evelyn Cabrera Becerril, who is Febo Cabrera’s deceased aunt who died on Sept. 22, 2019 in Oklahoma. Torres said she was registered to Unit 10 from Precinct 100 in Luquillo in the State Elections Commission (SEC) electoral roll and had transactions from two Permanent Registration Board offices on Sept. 26 and Oct. 10 of this year.

Furthermore, the senator said, the SEC authorized an early voting request via mail-in because a list from the Absentee and Early Voting Administrative Board (JAVA by its Spanish acronym) confirmed Cabrera Becerril was currently registered.

“Currently, Febo Cabrera lives in Los Paisajes Urbanization, where his deceased aunt was enrolled; however, even though he lives in his aunt’s home, in electoral terms, he is enrolled in the SEC as living in the Alamar Urbanization. The transactions made by Cabrera Becerril in September and October not only involved requesting Early Voting, but also requested that the ballots be sent to the NPP electoral commissioner’s immediate neighbor in the Alamar Urbanization,” Torres said. “This act is a violation of several articles of the Electoral Law at the local and federal levels. Today, we request that both SEC Chairman Francisco Rosado Colomer and the Federal Bureau of Investigation initiate an investigation into what happened.”

Meanwhile, Márquez said the other scheme involved the NPP Luquillo municipal assembly candidate’s sister, Lyanne Febo Cabrera, who allegedly resides in Bastrop, Texas, based on a post on her Facebook profile that she early voted in the U.S. presidential elections. However, she also appeared registered in the JAVA list to early vote via mail-in in Luquillo using her brother’s electoral residential address.

“This is an act of corruption; this [public] servant has the ministerial duty to defend his city’s democracy,” Márquez said. “We’re releasing these remarks because what is happening in Luquillo could also be happening in other parts of the country. We must be wary of what’s occurring.”

The Luquillo mayor added that the current Electoral Code states that the described situations are considered violations and carry criminal penalties of fines and even jail. Among the articles that could be violated are 12.1, 12.10 and 12.19, all related to illegal voting and double voting, as well as failure to comply with the provisions of the law.

In addition, Márquez read to reporters that, at the federal level, “the events reported constitute crimes such as conspiracy to promote false registration, provide false information for the purpose of establishing eligibility to register to vote, conspiracy to injure citizens in the exercise of their constitutional rights, and fraud by mail through the transmission of fake voting forms, among others.”

When a member of the press asked how a matter like the Luquillo situation was not brought to Rosado Colomer once he was appointed as SEC chairman, Torres replied that “it is one of the consequences brought about by Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz’s Electoral Code.”

“The electoral commissioner and the mayoral candidate know the law and the procedure to follow; however, apparently they decided to circumvent it to exercise a vote that is clearly illegal,” Torres said. “These are the results of the approval of an Electoral Reform in a hurry and without consensus.”