The fix is in, claims Victoria Ciudadana
Candidates Lúgaro and Rivera Lassén sound the alarm regarding over 400 voter claims of anomalies and mismanagement during the voting process
By José A. Sánchez Fournier
Special to The Star
The polls had not closed, but gubernatorial candidate Alexandra and senate hopeful Ana Irma Rivera Lassén were already on the warpath. At around 4:30 pm yesterday, the Victoria Ciudadana leaders held a press conference at the party headquarters and presented data of over 400 individual complaints regarding anomalies during the voting process. The pair made the information publicly available after, according to Lúgaro and Rivera Lassén the cases were dismissed by the representatives of the New Progressive Party and Popular Democratic Party in the State Electoral Commission.
“Our electoral commissioner Olvin Valentín just came out of an emergency meeting where he presented evidence of these irregularities to the other commissioners. The New Progressive Party and Popular Democratic Party commissioners claimed these were but a few isolated cases. But due to the fact that we have received over 400 individual voter complaints, we decided to compile them and make the information available to the public,”said Lúgaro, who presented a graphic and data backing her claims. They provided journalist with a digital copy of a list of 401 cases of irregularities during the voting process. The cases were compiled by the party officials after being caught by surprise by the large number of calls and texts sent by citizens voluntarily reporting the incidents to Victoria Ciudadana.
According to Lúgaro, most cases had to do with claims of out of order ballot storage machines. She added that there were also statements alluding to voters receiving ballots already marked as voting for NPP gubernatorial candidate Pedro Pierluisi.
“San Juan is the municipality with the most citizen complaints, followed by Ponce, Bayamón, Aguadilla and Mayagüez. And they were happening in voting colleges with no minority volunteer presence,” Lúgaro said.
At 9 p.m. last night, Victoria Ciudadana held a second press conference, claiming that the State Electoral Commission was grossly underreporting vote totals from San Juan, where Victoria Ciudadana’s candidate for mayor, Manuel Natal, was having a strong showing.
“The way the State Electoral Commission is underreporting the vote totals in San Juan is alarming. We must wait and be vigilant”, said Rivera Lassén.
Errors and mishaps galore on election day
In one of the most haphazard elections in modern Puerto Rico history, not even gubernatorial candidate Lúgaro was immune to the procedural hiccups faced by many citizens who exercised their right to vote today. The Victoria Ciudadana figurehead arrived early yesterday at Abraham Lincoln public school in Old San Juan to vote and had to deal with lines of waiting voters and faulty voting equipment. Lúgaro was unable to insert her governorship/resident commissioner ballot in the automated ballot box. She was then told by one of the officials that she would have to manually insert the ballot in a box which would later be moved to another site, where they would be counted. The machine was not having troubles with the other ballots.
Lúgaro also claimed to hearing reports about government employees being coerced into showing their ballots and not being allowed to vote in private. “No one can force you to make your vote public. That would be a crime,” Lúgaro said.
Later this afternoon, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the District Attorney’s office would be investigating local citizen complaints regarding irregularities during the voting process on the Island today.