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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

SEC denies intervention in court ruling disqualifying candidates

State Elections Commission Interim Chairwoman Jessika Padilla Rivera

By The Star Staff

Political candidates from the Citizen Victory Movement (MVC by its Spanish initials) and Dignity Project (PD) who were disqualified from running in the election by a recent court ruling are filing an appeal today, the STAR learned.

State Elections Commission (SEC) Interim Chairwoman Jessika Padilla Rivera, meanwhile, rejected rumors that she intervened in the court ruling that resulted in the disqualification of some six candidates from the MVC and PD.

“I would like to know what statements I made to any candidate, to any representative, even to the Electoral Commissioner, who was the one we work with weekly, what statements I made that could have misled any of the candidates or the Electoral Commissioner,” Padilla Rivera said in a radio interview. “I have not made any statements regarding whether or not the party had to collect endorsements, neither to them nor to any party.”

A judge recently disqualified the candidates because they had failed to obtain endorsements as required by the Electoral Code.

MVC Rep. Mariana Nogales Molinelli said she believes the Appeals Court, where they will go today, will reverse Judge Anthony Cuevas’ decision.

“I’m sure you’re going to see something that Judge Anthony Cuevas says and that I know exists, but I can’t tell you,” she said.

Padilla Rivera, meanwhile, refuted allegations made by former San Juan Mayor Héctor Luis Acevedo to the effect that the SEC has yet to register numerous young voters in the island’s public schools to vote. The government closed numerous Juntas de Inscripcion Permanente, or Permanent Voting Registration Board offices, limiting voting registration.

Padilla Rivera said the SEC has visited more than 100 educational institutions so far in 2024.

“I don’t know where Mr. Acevedo gets his information from. That information was not requested from the Commission,” she said. “We have visited over 100 schools […], we have visited elderly homes, we have visited churches, fairs, on Saturdays we are registering voters. Currently, more than 18,873 students are enrolled to vote.”

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