Puerto Rico Partially Suspends Primary Elections Over Lack of Ballots

Puerto Rico on Sunday suspended voting at polling places that ran out of ballots, with some officials calling for the resignation of the president of the territorys elections commission.

The voting centers, which did not receive ballots by the early afternoon on Sunday, will have their primaries rescheduled, the election commission said.

The leaders of Puerto Ricos two major political parties announced that the centers, which turned away voters on Aug. 9, will now hold primaries on Aug. 16. Some politicians argued that the entire election should be cancelled and run again on another date. The two left-wing parties have a field of five primary candidates vying to face off in the general election in November.

A federal control board with oversight of Puerto Ricos finances said in a statement that the “dysfunctional” voting process was unacceptable. The board blamed the fiasco on inefficiency by the elections commission.

“I have never seen on American soil something like what has just been done here in Puerto Rico. Its an embarrassment to our government and our people,” Pedro Pierluisi, a gubernatorial candidate challenging Gov. Wanda Vázquez in the primary, said.

Vázquez called the situation “a disaster” and demanded the resignation of the president of the elections commission, Juan Rivera. A commission spokeswoman said Rivera was not granting interviews.

“They made the people of Puerto Rico, not the candidates, believe that they were prepared,” Vázquez said. “Today the opposite was evident. They lied.”

Thomas Schatz, president of the Senate of Puerto Rico, said that trucks with ballots were still parked at the elections commission headquarters even as he announced the partial suspension of the primaries.

“The question is, why havent they left?” Schatz said.

The situation infuriated voters and politicians of all stripes as they blamed Puerto Ricos elections commission and demanded an explanation for ballots reaching only a handful of voting centers by the afternoon.

Meanwhile, officials from the islands two main parties scrambled to find solutions as they urged voters to still show up at centers that remained open.

Yadira Pizarro, a 44-year-old teacher, ran out of patience at a shuttered voting center in Carolina where she had waited more than four hours under a blistering sun.

“I cannot believe this. This is some serious negligence,” she said.

One of the most closely watched races on Sunday is that of the pro-statehood Progressive New Party, which pits two candidates who servRead More From Source

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