Possibility of delaying November election raised
By John McPhaul
Debate has erupted over whether the Nov. 3 general elections should be delayed by a vote of the Legislative Assembly, given the possibility of a repeat of last Sunday’s primary elections fiasco.
After thousands of voters were left waiting to vote in the primaries last Sunday, and the Puerto Rico Supreme Court determined that the event should continue this Sunday, uncertainty has arisen as to whether the same thing could happen in the general elections.
The general elections must take place on Tuesday, Nov. 3. That is in just 82 days.
Article 6, Section 4 of the Puerto Rico Constitution establishes the following regarding elections:
“General elections will be held every four years on the day of November determined by the Legislative Assembly. In said elections, the Governor, the members of the Legislative Assembly and the other officials whose election on that date is provided for by law shall be elected. Any person who has reached eighteen years of age shall be a voter, and meets the other requirements determined by law. No one will be deprived of the right to vote for not knowing how to read or write or for not owning property. Everything concerning the electoral process and voter registration, as well as that relating to political parties and candidacies, shall be provided by law;”
In a radio interview, Gerardo Cruz, a former electoral commissioner for the Popular Democratic Party, said “the State Elections Commission has the responsibility, regardless of what the Law says, to see what happened [in last Sunday’s primaries] is not repeated and to see if it has to go to the Legislative Assembly to request a [new and more realistic] time for the general elections.”
Cruz said in the radio interview that it cannot be ruled out that the Legislature is forced to change the date of the general elections, after what has happened in the primary process.
Popular Democratic Party President Aníbal José Torres said in another radio interview that what the situation calls for is that “the decisions that have to be made be made and that the right to vote be guaranteed.”