• The Star Staff

SEC: Early voting goes off without complications

By John McPhaul


State Elections Commission (SEC) Chairman Francisco Rosado Colomer said Saturday that early voting on the island was conducted without major complications.

“Today we confirm the commitment of the officials, the electoral commissioners and the Commission to holding this event safely,” Rosado Colomer said in a written statement. “We are ready for the inmate vote tomorrow, Sunday, the hospital vote on Monday, and the general elections on Tuesday.”

He said 630 polling stations were set up across Puerto Rico to serve some 53,000 voters who requested early voting in person. At 9 a.m. Saturday, all the polling stations opened equipped with ballots, electronic counting machines and materials to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

Popular Democratic Party Electoral Commissioner Nicolás Gautier Vega commented on some incidents that occurred during the early voting.

“Incidents were reported including voters who did not appear on the lists of the voting centers despite having requested to vote in the district. These requests were not recorded, which is why they did not appear on the charts,” he said. “Meanwhile, those voters who for some reason could not exercise their vote, it is important that they know that they can go to their respective voting centers, on Tuesday, November 3, and cast their vote, where they will appear on the list and if they do not appear, they will be able to vote at a polling station [where their registration can be] added by hand.”

Regarding the operations at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in Hato Rey where, since last week, early voting has been handled in all its forms, Gautier Vega noted that “the work continues in an ordinary way.”

“At the moment, 364,766 ballots have been scrutinized out of a total of 800,000. This equates to 45 percent of the scrutiny,” he said. “[Sunday] the inmate vote will be conducted in penal institutions and on Monday, the voting of the voters in hospitals.”

Gautier Vega said the ballot containers and other materials for Sunday and Monday’s voting are completely ready.

Meanwhile, interim Advocate for People with Disabilities Gabriel Corchado Méndez alleged on Saturday that the SEC has failed to comply with the application of the ‘Vote by Phone’ process, and with the Braille templates for voting by blind citizens.

“We have also observed accessibility problems, as well as a lack of parking and easily accessible [polling stations],” Corchado Méndez said in a written statement. “We are denouncing this breach of the federal ‘Help America Vote Act’ by the State Elections Commission and we are informing the media so that people with disabilities can demand their rights.”