• The Star Staff

PDP electoral commissioner: Governor must identify funds to guarantee voter safety

By John McPhaul


Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Electoral Commissioner Lind Merle Feliciano called on State Elections Commission (SEC) President Juan Dávila Rivera on Thursday to exercise his power and demand that Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced identify funds to guarantee the safety of voters and officials who will participate in the August and November electoral events in Puerto Rico.

“I demand that the president of the Commission, in the same way that he defended the Electoral Code, defend the safety of the voters who will participate in the upcoming events,” Merle Feliciano said in a written statement. “The governor must be required to identify the funds to equip the voting centers with the necessary tools to guarantee the physical and emotional security of all.”

“Less than 20 days before the electoral event, the governor prefers to remain silent when it is imperative that she explain what the action plan is and answer the many concerns about the process,” the PDP official added. “It is your [Dávila Rivera’s] responsibility to guarantee the safety of all participants and compliance with the laws that this government has overturned.”

The lack of a budget, the lack of hygiene and safety materials as well as the delay in printing ballots are some of the situations that the SEC faces two weeks before the Aug. 9 primaries. The electoral commissioners of all the island’s political parties have indicated in different instances their concerns and pointed out the absence of a plan to address them.

“We are dealing with an atypical situation in which the country is facing a pandemic. Voters must be assured that precautions are taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Merle Feliciano said. “The Popular Democratic Party is aware of this reality and has prepared those who will work on electoral and security aspects that day.”

“We are being proactive to get ready and receive our voters in a safe environment,” he added. “I reiterate that it is the Commission that has to provide the necessary equipment to conduct an event that guarantees the physical and emotional security of the voters.”

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