By The Star Staff
Independent Sen. José “Chaco” Vargas Vidot announced his candidacy to run again for an at-large Senate seat in the 2024 elections, he revealed in a video posted Monday on his Facebook page.
“In 2024 I want to continue to be in the Senate. I call with great respect and love that if there is something unique in the Senate; it is not just me, it is all of us making our country transform,” the senator said. “We want to continue the work we are doing in the office, which ranges from oversight, coordination of services, visiting communities and attending to their situations, and supporting and pushing causes of social justice, mental health and more.”
Vargas Vidot said he again faces obstacles from the State Elections Commission (SEC) when it comes to collecting endorsements, this time because the SEC included an additional reason for rejecting endorsements that the Electoral Code does not recognize as valid.
By means of the regulation, the SEC indicates that it will validate the signature of an endorser and decide if it is incompatible with previous signatures of the voter. In addition, the SEC regulatory measure is only stipulated for independent candidates, which Vargas Vidot said amounts to discrimination by the SEC against candidates who are not recognized as participating in the SEC or in the endorsement process.
“The provisions of Section 5.6 of the Rules for the Filing of Candidacies is a discriminatory approach to independent candidates that we will be raising with the State Election Commission and we are prepared to go to court,” Vargas Vidot said. “Since in 2016 we already won in court against the discriminatory action of requiring 54,000 endorsements, now they invent a reason to reject our endorsements, which is not recognized in the Electoral Code and which only applies to independent candidates. Worst of all … in addition to being a hoax on the part of the SEC, it’s something that doesn’t make sense. People change their signatures over time, and not only that, but with endorsements now being electronic, the signature on a tablet or cell phone is not the same as a physical one, so it is an arbitrary and capricious way for the SEC to hinder independent candidacies.”
“I have spoken with other independent candidates and they are notifying me of endorsement rejections for this reason, as happens to me, and we are going to stop it,” the independent senator said.