Vote count discrepancies lead to review of Dominion contract in Puerto Rico

by WorldTribune Staff, June 12, 2024 Contract With Our Readers

Hundreds of ballot discrepancies in Puerto Rico’s recent primary election have prompted the island territory to review its contract with U.S.-based Dominion Voting Systems, a report said.

The discrepancies occurred in the June 2 vote due to a software issue that caused machines supplied by Dominion to incorrectly calculate vote totals, said Jessika Padilla Rivera, the Puerto Rico Election Commission’s interim president.

Machine-reported vote counts were lower than the paper ones in some cases, and some machines reversed certain totals or reported zero votes for some candidates, ABC News reported on June 11.

“The concern is that we obviously have elections in November, and we must provide the (island) not only with the assurance that the machine produces a correct result, but also that the result it produces is the same one that is reported,” Padilla said.

Both of Puerto Rico’s parties, the pro-statehood New Progressive Party and the Popular Democratic Party which supports the island’s territorial status, reported hundreds of ballots showing inaccurate results, with the PNP reporting over 700 errors and the PPD pointing to some 350 discrepancies. These inaccuracies affected ballots for positions including governor, mayor, and resident commissioner.

In response to the discrepancies, the elections commission conducted a full vote tally and audited paper receipts from hundreds of ballot-counting machines.

Edwin García Feliciano, Puerto Rico’s Ombudsman, called the incident a “threat” to the island’s electoral system and called on the governor and the island’s federal control board that oversees the island’s finances to establish a plan to guarantee a better outcome in the upcoming general elections.

“All planning is based on resolving emergencies, including unlikely ones,” García Feliciano said. “But predictable circumstances, which are well known to the public, cannot be addressed by improvisation and in a rush.”

More than 6,000 Dominion voting machines were used in Puerto Rico’s primaries, with the company stating that software issues stemmed from the digital files used to export results from the machines.

José Varela, vice president of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, said: “We cannot allow the public’s confidence in the voting process to continue to be undermined as we approach the general elections.”

The contract between Dominion and the elections commission ends June 30.

The June 2 primary problems were reminiscent of the island’s botched 2020 primaries, when a lack of ballots at some centers forced the government to reschedule voting in a first for the U.S. territory.

Your Choice