QUE VERGUENZA ! ....y ahora van a tapar a los culpables porque son vacas sagradas????. MJ)
|2012 Republican Primaries in PR|
Requiring an identification card to vote is only a superficial remedy to avoid voter fraud. Take a look at Puerto Rico, the original voter-ID state. With the focus on voter-ID laws going on in the U.S., conservatives should take a moment to study Puerto Rico’s previous primary before placing all their bets on a piece of plastic with a photo.
The island implemented these laws as early as 1980 under then Governor Carlos Romero Barceló (a Democrat). To vote, voters must show up to their precinct, show their state issued voter-ID card (tarjeta electoral), match the card and name to the list and lastly, sign. The Electoral Commission (CEE in Spanish) has a database of signatures for every registered voter that it can use to compare them if doubts arise over said voter’s vote (pardon the redundancy).
Poll watchers are hired and paid for by the local parties and candidates, with only a minimum amount of employees directly hired by the CEE. Traditionally, Puerto Ricans took some pride in their voting system and reliability. However, with the March primaries, much has changed.
Following reports that the number of votes per precinct did not match the number of voters who signed the lists, a voting fraud tactic known as “emptying lists” (vaciado de lista), the CEE ordered a full recount to determine which precincts had more votes than voters. In sum, this practice involves the poll workers taking the electorate list once the polls close, and if nobody is looking, employees begin signing on behalf of voters who did not show up and vote in their name.
As of this week, thousands of voters have been identified as forged, and some precincts have lost over 4,000 votes following the recount. In the senatorial race for the city of Guaynabo, allegations and sworn statements have surfaced accusing voters and police officers of changing their addresses so that they can vote in the Guaynabo precinct, supposedly for the candidate backed by the mayor, Hector O’Neill.
Neither party, be it the New Progressive Party (PNP) or the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) has been spared from fraud allegations or inconsistencies between votes and voters. Far from writing an in-depth report on the Puerto Rico primaries, the important take away is the myth of the voter-ID.
While Puerto Ricans can get their voter card showing only a certificate of birth (or license) and a social security card (or passport), some states have placed a nearly prohibitive list of documents in order to get a voter-ID. As several sources have already pointed out, these laws unfairly burden the lower economic groups that lean Democrat, much to the spite of the GOP lawmakers who push for these laws.
States should focus on the very issue that Puerto Rico has failed to address: Streamlining the voting process.
Puerto Rico’s manual counting and paper and ink voting allows for plenty of opportunities for poll workers to intervene with individual ballots. By adopting an electronic voting system, the opportunity for human intervention lessens. Additionally, by allowing for the bare necessary documentation in order to obtain voter-ID cards, states can make it feasible for all social-economic groups to obtain them, thus increasing the registered and validated electorate. By focusing on the back-end of the voting process, instead of the front-end of the process, states can bring about effective remedies for voter irregularities and fraud.
Pertaining to Puerto Rico, much can be done about the electoral process – particularly regarding what happens once the ballot is cast. The 2012 Primaries have been plagued with irregularities and fraud allegations that could very well have occurred in prior elections. Puerto Rico needs to get on the electronic voting (or ballot verification) bandwagon sooner rather than later. If Puerto Rico, with its 80% voting turnout, can guarantee fair elections, perhaps other states can take heed and follow the model.