Para ver este documento en español, oprima aquí.

Senate Approves Presidential Vote

Presidential Bill Vote Hearings: CRB, "Mechanism Of Pressure On Congress"

Rossello, Romero Wrong About Vote

Acevedo Vila Prevented From Testifying; Pesquera, Means Of Getting "Political Power"

SEC Chief, "Confusing And Unrealistic"; Hernandez Colon, Unconstitutional Legislation


Senate Approves Presidential Vote

August 31, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - In a vote along party lines, the Senate on Thursday approved the measure enabling U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico to vote for the U.S. president in the upcoming elections.

The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) delegation and New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Sergio Peña Clos voted against the measure.

The bill was approved although there is no guarantee that the vote will be counted in the U.S.

During the debate, several amendments were introduced. One of them provides for two measures, one is Spanish and its version in English. The amendment provides that in case there are contradictions between the versions, the English one will prevail, and a copy will be sent to the U.S. Congress.

Peña Clos said the measure "is confusing and does not represent a single step toward the advancement of statehood."

The senator reminded those present that the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has ruled that Puerto Rico residents can't vote for president unless the island becomes a state or the U.S. Constitution is amended.

In a message sent from his federal prison cell, where he has spent 28 days for trespassing on U.S. Navy land in Vieques, Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Manuel Rodriguez Orellana rejected the measure.

The presidential vote bill resulted from a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Jaime Pieras allowing U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico to vote for president and ordering the government to enable such vote.


Romero Barcelo Testifies At Presidential Vote Hearings

By Proviana Colon Diaz

August 24, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN — Thursday's hearing on the bill enabling a presidential vote for Puerto Rico residents in November included the testimony of former Governor and, currently, NPP Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo.

In his testimony Romero Barcelo argued that the bill enabling the presidential vote should be approved because it will serve as a "mechanism of pressure" on the U.S. Congress so it acts on the "anti-democratic" relationship it has with Puerto Rico.

Romero testified Thursday during legislative hearings on a bill that would enable Puerto Rico residents to cast votes for president in the upcoming elections. The measure resulted from a federal judge's decision that Puerto Rico residents are entitled to do so, despite jurisprudence that requires either an amendment to the Constitution or Puerto Rico becoming a state before such a vote is allowed.

If the bill is approved and signed into law, it would mandate that Puerto Rico votes for the presidential candidates be converted into one electoral vote each for the eight senatorial districts on the island. That would mean that Puerto Rico would issue eight electoral votes.


Rossello: Romero Wrong About Presidential Vote

August 25, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Gov. Pedro Rossello on Friday contradicted Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo, who said the U.S. Constitution would have to be amended to grant Puerto Ricans the right to vote for president.

"I think he's wrong on that point. There already is precedent of extending the right of the presidential vote without a constitutional amendment. It's not necessary to amend the U.S. Constitution," Rossello said.

Rossello stressed that it was "wrong to think the only way to extend some rights to Puerto Rico" was by amending the Constitution.


Acevedo Vila Prevented From Testifying At Presidential Vote Hearing

By Proviana Colon Diaz

August 25, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN — The third day of hearings on the presidential vote bill took a clear turn for the political partisan side when Government Committee Chairman Edwin Mundo refused to accept Rep. Anibal Acevedo Vila's testimony on behalf of Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Sila Calderon.

Mundo's decision was encouraged by Federal Affairs Senate Committee Chairman Kenneth McClintock and House Speaker Edison Misla Aldarondo, who argued that "due to the great relevance of the bill," Calderon had to voice her opinion and that people had the right to hear her statements.

Mundo, McClintock and Misla are all of the New Progressive Party (NPP). Calderon is running for governor on the PDP's ticket.

According to NPP legislators, Calderon - who also is mayor of San Juan - was originally scheduled to testify Wednesday but requested a later date because she was still dealing with the consequences of Hurricane Debby's passing. Her request was accepted and she was scheduled for Friday but she did not ask for a second rescheduling.

Outside the Capitol, Acevedo Vila said the original citation was for the party president or a representative, which in this case was him, as vice president of the PDP. Acevedo Vila said the incident was "one more case of political persecution from the NPP-dominated Legislature against the PDP."

Meanwhile, during the morning hearings, NPP President and gubernatorial candidate Carlos Pesquera testified.

Pesquera said the bill should be approved as a means of getting "political power" in the U.S. Congress. If the eight votes proposed by the bill were counted in the elections, the island would be above 22 states in terms of representation.

"We would become a political power in terms of the presidential vote overnight," Pesquera said.


SEC Chief: Presidential Vote Bill Is "Confusing And Unrealistic"

By Proviana Colon Diaz

August 28, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN — While politicians continued to argue Monday over the constitutionality of the presidential vote bill during the fourth and final day of joint legislative hearings, State Elections Commission (SEC) President Juan R. Melecio described the measure was "confusing and unrealistic."

"The bill is silent on fundamental issues such as who signs the ballots [to approve them], who hands them out to voters and who collects them," said Melecio.

Melecio added that he doubted the bill's contention that the presidential votes could be ready by Dec. 18 because they might still be doing the general elections counting at that time.

Also appearing before the joint Senate and House legislative hearings on the bill Monday were PDP Vice President Anibal Acevedo Vila and former Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon.

Like several constitutional attorneys before him, Acevedo Vila argued that the presidential vote for Puerto Rico would be obtained only by amending the U.S. Constitution, which provides that only state residents can vote for president.

"Those who want to implement the presidential vote by means of an unconstitutional legislation, for strictly political motives, are really creating a fraud and a travesty against the Puerto Rican people," Acevedo Vila said.

Hernandez Colon, for his part, also argued against the bill's constitutionality.

"The right to vote [for president] is not a fundamental or inherent right to U.S. citizenship," he said. "This has been repeatedly decided by the U.S. Supreme Court."

Hearings concluded Monday and voting will be Thursday.

Self-Determination Legislation | Puerto Rico Herald Home
Newsstand | Puerto Rico | U.S. Government | Archives
Search | Mailing List | Contact Us | Feedback