Election day going smoothly in Puerto Rico

Published November 06, 2012


No problems were reported by midday Tuesday as Puerto Ricans went to the polls to choose a new governor and representative in Washington and to express their opinions in a non-binding referendum on the nature of the island's relationship to the United States.

Authorities reported that no noteworthy incidents had been registered so far on a day on which more than 2.4 million people are eligible to cast ballots.

In Tuesday's election, voters will choose the 78 members of the Puerto Rican legislature and the mayors of the island's 79 municipalities.

Voters will also have the opportunity to express their viewpoint regarding the island's relationship with the United States, voting "yes" or "no" on whether to keep Puerto Rico a U.S. commonwealth, a status that allows a certain amount of autonomy to the local government.

This year's election season was marked up to the last minute by the efforts of the main opposition PPD to enable the 330,000 people dropped from the island's voting rolls for not casting ballots in 2008 to vote this time around.

After several contradictory court decisions, a federal appellate court in Boston on Monday evening nullified an earlier order by U.S. District Judge Consuelo Vargas, who had ruled that those 330,000 people could vote provisionally while waiting for a definitive resolution of the matter.

The governor's race is a contest between incumbent Luis Fortuño, of the pro-statehood PNP, and PPD standard-bearer Alejandro Garcia Padilla.

The latest poll, released by the daily El Nuevo Dia last Sunday, gave Fortuño a lead of 45 percent to Garcia Padilla's 43 percent.

Regarding the island's status, 48 percent of those surveyed said they favored maintaining the current commonwealth, compared with 46 percent who said they were against the present arrangement. EFE