Puerto Rico's election for governer contested

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

BOSTON, MA – The hotly contested Puerto Rico election for governor has entered the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston to decide whether the Puerto Rican Supreme Court or a U.S. District Judge has jurisdiction over the contested ballots.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over Puerto Rico. The election has been contested since November.

The ballot for governor allows Puerto Ricans to vote for a governor of their political party and any one person. The largest instance of this occurred when members of the Independence Party voted for their candidate (who trailed a distant third) and for Aníbal Acevedo Vilá of the Popular Democratic Party. Opposition mainly from the New Progressive Party argues that the intent of the voter is not clear on these "mixed ballots." The Popular Democratic Party points out that such mixed ballots have been accepted in the past.

Pedro Rosselló, former governor from the New Progressive Party, is up for re-election.

The Puerto Rican Supreme Court ruled the ballots valid, a decision that was overturned by a U.S. Federal Judge Daniel Domínguez, who ordered ballots be counted but not confirmed until their validity can be decided. The election is a close one, and the validity of the contested ballots will determine the winner.

Time pressure increases with each day, since the inauguration is scheduled for Jan. 2, 2005.

The Independence Party favours Puerto Rico becoming an independent nation, and is a small third party. The Popular Democratic Party currently is the ruling party and favours Puerto Rico to remain a commonwealth. The New Progressive Party favours Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state.

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