PDP mayoral candidate alleges electoral fraud in Aguadilla prison
By John McPhaul
The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for mayor of Aguadilla, Julio Roldán, delivered a letter Wednesday to the federal prosecutor in Puerto Rico, W. Stephen Muldrow, urging an exhaustive investigation into what Roldán said are serious allegations of vote manipulation in the Guerrero de Aguadilla correctional institution during the recent party primaries.
“Democracy is in danger. After disastrous primaries, in Puerto Rico and Aguadilla, our people have lost faith in our democratic system,” Roldán said. “During the early voting in that correctional institution, several inmates complained to Popular Democratic Party officials that they had been blackmailed into voting in the NPP [New Progressive Party] primary in exchange for special deals such as high-definition televisions and virtual visitation time, something that violates the Electoral Code of Puerto Rico.”
“Federal law prohibits the intimidation of voters in any election. The Guerrero institution receives federal funds, which would give federal authorities jurisdiction to conduct an investigation,” he added. “This, added to the violations of articles 12.13 and 12.23 of the Electoral Code of Puerto Rico, undoubtedly stains the reputation of the State Elections Commission and the confidence of citizens in the electoral process.”
Roldán said information held by the Popular Democratic Party, and which appears to be official documents from the Aguadilla primary polling station, establish that the inmates said they would vote for Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, for Mayor Yanitsia Irizarry and for Sen. Héctor Martínez, all NPP candidates, as they were offered benefits and bonuses in exchange for those votes.
“The votes of the prisoners were fundamental in the triumph of the mayor and to avoiding a recount. On the night of the event, the mayor was victorious in the NPP primary by the narrow margin of 115 votes, avoiding a recount by 15 votes,” the PDP mayoral candidate said. “This undoubtedly leaves a cloak of darkness over the integrity of the process and creates questions of manipulation and illegal acts on the part of the mayor in the voting process for the inmates of the Aguadilla prison.”
Roldán, a former correctional officer, also said the complaint reveals the true intentions of the mayor and what she is capable of doing in order to remain in control of the municipal administration of Aguadilla.
“We request the intervention of the federal prosecutor in Puerto Rico so that, in view of the general elections in November, it can be guaranteed that the voting franchise of the inmates is genuine, clean and not coerced by pressure, gifts or bonuses from any official,” he said.
The candidate said a copy of the letter to the federal prosecutor was sent to PDP Electoral Commissioner Nicolás Gautier, State Elections Commission Chairman Juan Dávila, and acting Justice Secretary Inés Carrau.