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Puerto Rico Suspends Primary Election Over Lack Of Ballots

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Puerto Rico temporarily suspended its primary Sunday after a shortage of ballots prevented citizens from casting their votes, the Associated Press reported.

The lack of ballots led to calls for the president of the U.S. territory’s elections commission to resign, Politico reported Monday.

“I have never seen on American soil something like what has just been done here in Puerto Rico. It’s an embarrassment to our government and our people,” said Pedro Pierluisi, who is running a primary challenge to Gov. Wanda Vázquez to be the gubernatorial nominee under the New Progressive Party.

Vázquez echoed Pierluisi’s comments, calling the primary a “disaster” and echoing calls for the elections commission’s president to resign.

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

The heads of the New Progressive Party and the Popular Democratic Party said in a joint press conference that the primary to select each party’s gubernatorial nominee would resume Aug. 16, Politico reported.

Edgardo Román, the president of Puerto Rico’s bar association, said that he did not know what the path forward would look like, citing the situation’s unprecedented nature and the territory’s unclear electoral law, according to the AP.

The law “doesn’t contemplate this scenario,” he told the AP Sunday.

The gubernatorial race has become increasingly competitive throughout Puerto Rico, with multiple high-profile figures vying to replace Vázquez, Politico reported. While Pierluisi, who represented Puerto Rico in Congress from 2009 to 2017, is the incumbent’s only primary challenger, she faces a challenge from three members of the Popular Democratic Primary, which is against statehood for the territory, according to its party platform.

While Puerto Rico is the first state or territory to experience a shortage of ballots this cycle, it is not the first to face primary complications. Georgia had widespread reports of broken voting machines, creating hours-long lines, and two races from New York’s June 23 primary have yet to be officially called.

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Andrew Trunsky

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