Para ver esta página en español, oprima aquí.

Rossello Disputes Validity Of NPP Vote Manual… Appeal Hearing On Mixed Votes Postponed… Fas Suggests Int’l Election Process… Dead Man Voted?… 22nd Soldier Killed In Iraq… 40 Union Members Return To Work… 5 Accused Of Organizing Illegal D.R. Migrant Boat… Gracia Rejects Charges Of Favoring PDP… PDP Wants NPP Vote Instructor Summoned To Court

Rossello Disputes Validity Of NPP Vote Manual

By Leonardo Aldridge

December 8, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The president of the New Progressive Party, Pedro Rossello, downplayed the importance of an internal training manual from his party that instructs election officials how to adjudicate votes — among them the controversial mixed votes that are now being disputed in court.

Rossello said he did not recognize the validity of the "Manual de Adiestramientos Electorales del PNP," and said it could be from a rough draft. He said the director of the party never ratified it as proper.

"There are several copies that never were made official, that never were used and what was used when the training process began were the official documents of the State Elections Commission, as they are supposed to be," Rossello said at a press conference.

He said the manual "strengthens our case" in federal court because the document is weak proof that will not hold up in court if the PDP tries to use it as evidence the NPP instructed officials to count votes with three crosses as valid.

The testimony of José Manrique Rivera Torres, who allegedly prepared the manual, was expected to be heard Tuesday in Judge Daniel Dominguez’s courtroom.

Former governor Carlos Romero Barceló questioned the authenticity of the manual, and said it could have been made up using photocopies.

"With the photocopies a pile of things could have been made … I have no evidence that this document is reliable," Romero Barceló said.

Rossello added that "if the PDP has to grab at this to try to confuse public opinion…they have problems."

Boston Hearing About Mixed Votes Is Postponed

December 7, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has postponed the hearing on the mixed votes until 10 a.m. Monday at the request of both parties in the case.

Yesterday (Monday), the plaintiff, New Progressive candidate for governor Pedro Rossello, and his Popular Democratic rival, Anibal Acevedo Vila, submitted their arguments on the merits of their respective cases.

It was reported that the appeals panel will remain ready to resolve the controversy on the mixed votes if the parties wish.

For the proceedings to be complete, one of the two parties needs to submit replies to the opposing arguments before 4 p.m. Wednesday and at the oral hearing next Monday.

Fas Alzamora Suggests Internationalizing Election Process

December 7, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamora on Tuesday filed legislation that proposes internationalizing the allegedly unjustified intervention of the federal court in the adjudication of votes issued in the Nov. 2 elections.

The piece of legislation also asks Federal Judge Daniel Dominguez to leave the interpretation of the Electoral Law of Puerto Rico in the hands of Puerto Rican courts.

According to Fas Alzamora, Judge Dominguez’s decisions in the case "provoke confrontations between Puerto Ricans, disturb social peace and lead to unpredictable and unforeseen circumstances."

The New Progressive Party appealed to the federal court to challenge the mixed votes with three marks.

Dominguez still has not determined the validity of these mixed votes, but ordered that they be counted, segregated and not adjudicated in the recount held at the State Elections Commission.

Dead Man Allegedly Voted In Nov. 2 Elections

By Leonardo Aldridge

December 7, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — A dead man allegedly voted in the recent elections.

The incident was confirmed Tuesday by State Elections Commission President Aurelio Gracia, and is another in the series of obstacles that have characterized this post-election period.

"There was a box (of votes) found, I think it was found Monday, where it appears that a person voted who allegedly is dead. There will be an investigation," Gracia said at a press conference at the SEC Operations Center.

Gracia added that if it appears there are cases of dead people voting, the issue will be discussed by the election commissioners.

When this vote was identified, Gracia said, he sequestered the box of votes for further examination and they continued working.

He did not say which region the vote was registered in, but the SEC has counted up to Precinct 18 so far.

Gracia also said that they still had not counted some 3,000 extra votes by hand from prisoners because some of the votes arrived torn or unfolded. The SEC will next week hear the testimony of corrections officials.

"At the rate we are working, the forecast is we will be finished around Dec. 27 or 28," Gracia said, whose next meeting with the election commissioners will be Thursday.

Twenty-Second Puerto Rican Soldier Killed In Iraq

December 7, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Sgt. Henry E. Irizarry became the 22nd soldier from Puerto Rico or of Puerto Rican origin to die in the war in Iraq, the U.S. Army confirmed.

Irizarry, a resident of Connecticut whose father lives in Puerto Rico, died Friday in Taji, Iraq, when a mine on the side of the road exploded as the vehicle he was riding in passed by.

Irizarry, 38, joined the National Guard in New York in the Bronx region and was assigned to the first battalion of the Infantry regiment, according to press reports.

The soldier was married and was the father of five children, according to the Connecticut National Guard.

40 Union Members Return To Work

December 7, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Some 40 members of the Independent Authentic Union (IAU) have crossed picket lines and returned to their jobs after 65 days on strike, said the executive president of the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, Jorge Rodriguez.

He said the employees that returned to work received the $1800 signing bonus laid out in the final offer for the collective agreement that company management presented to the union, which the union rejected. They will also receive the Christmas bonus, which in most cases will be over $2000.

According to press reports, the 40 employees are "already inside" will be joined by another 15 workers that will be reinstated.

The president of the IAU negotiating committee, Juan Ramos, confirmed that some members had returned to work, but questioned the numbers. "They haven’t even got 2 percent of the 4,500 union employees," he said.

Five Dominicans Accused Of Organizing Illegal Migrant Boat

December 7, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Five Dominicans were accused of allegedly organizing last week’s illegal boat trip to Puerto Rico, in which eight out of 97 passengers died after the boat capsized.

The accused, who were brought before a federal magistrate Monday, were identified as Kenneth Martínez, Santiago Rodríguez, Fernando José Milán, Delgadino Peguero and Leonardo Hilario, all arrested Friday, together with other survivors of the wreck near the coast of Vega Alta.

A newspaper reported Tuesday that of the survivors, 49 worked with federal authorities as cooperating witnesses, who identified the five accused from a photo line-up.

At 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, the hearing was expected to continue about the passage of migrants that set sail Monday of last week from the Dominican Republic.

Gracia Rejects Charges Of Favoring PDP

December 6, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The president of the State Elections Commission, Aurelio Gracia, on Monday rejected charges that he had changed the rules for adjudicating votes after the elections to benefit the Popular Democratic Party, as New Progressive Party leaders alleged in an amendment to their federal lawsuit.

The NPP claims Gracia changed the rules of adjudication to validate thousands of ballots with three marks that favor PDP candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila.

"I categorically deny this. My decisions here are based on independent criteria and do not benefit either party in particular," Gracia said Monday at the SEC’s Operations Center.

PDP Wants NPP Vote Instructor Summoned To Court

By Laura Rivera Melendez

December 6, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday asked the federal court to hold the voting instructor for the New Progressive Party (NPP) in contempt of court. He allegedly prepared a training manual that says mixed-vote ballots with three marks are valid.

Popular Democratic Party Election Commissioner Gerardo Cruz also said he will present a copy of the manual as evidence to contradict the NPP’s claim it its federal suit that the controversial votes must be annulled.

"One of the first things is to ask the federal court that this man, José Manrique Rivera Torres, must appear in court to respond to this…," Cruz said at a press conference at PDP headquarters.

Cruz said after the existence of the manual was revealed, the NPP’s "hands are dirty" and only one option remains: "Pedro Rossello must go today to the federal court and ask for the dismissal of the case."

The name of Rivera Torres, with the title of "chief instructor of the Electoral Institute" appears on the title page of the NPP’s 2004 "Manual de Adiestramientos Electorales Educativos Elecciones".

NPP Election Commissioner Thomas Rivera Schatz welcomed a possible summons for Rivera Torres and said his statements would be in favor of the statehooders, the same as Juan R. Melecio, former president of the State Election Commission and now president of Rossello’s campaign.

"(Rivera Torres) is available. I remind them that he will be their witness … If they call him, he is going to say everything he knows and everything is the truth … that is not going to be a Melecio ‘part two.’ This person is available, if they want I can get him right away," Rivera Schatz said in a radio interview.

He added that he was not aware of the existence of the manual, which was reviewed on Monday by the press.

"This manual … I have not seen it," he said.

"The manual that I prepared, that I prepared with the two commissioners and the president, is that of the State Elections Commission," he said.

A newspaper on Monday reviewed the NPP’s 2004 "Manual de Adiestramientos Electorales Educativos Elecciones," and it showed several examples of how to adjudicate the votes with three marks on a state ballot.

"A mixed vote is when a voter blackens the oval below the insignia or logo of its preferred party or makes an individual mark, or marks, to choose a combination of candidates inside or outside of the vertical quadrant of their party," the manual says.

The document makes references to ovals, and not crosses, because this was the type of mark used by the NPP during its primary in November 2003.

The PDP also showed a copy of the manual to the NPP and the secretary general for the ‘estadolibrista,’ Aníbal José Torres, said the document has been delivered to NPP election officials, "angry with their party."

"I am going to tell the New Progressive Party election commissioner where this document leaves them. This document leaves the officials from the NPP polling places angry … I challenge him, the NPP election commissioner, to deny this manual," Torres said.

In their lawsuit before federal court, the NPP requested that the "pivazo" votes be annulled — those ballots on which voters made marks under the logo of the Puerto Rican Independence Party as well as under the PDP candidates for governor and resident commissioner.

Self-Determination Legislation | Puerto Rico Herald Home
Newsstand | Puerto Rico | U.S. Government | Archives
Search | Mailing List | Contact Us | Feedback