The ballots for the plebiscite were approved by the president of the EEC. (David Villafañe Ramos)
The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico declared the petition to stop the printing of the ballots of the “statehood yes or no” plebiscite that would be held on November 3, the same day as the general elections, this afternoon has no place.
The determination comes after last September 18, the plaintiffs in a case to declare the referendum unconstitutional asked the court to stop the processes of digitizing the files and printing the ballots, as well as any contracting and disbursement of public funds. for any process of the contested plebiscite.
The State Elections Commission (CEE) issued a resolution on September 17 in which it approved the design of the ballot and “it is ordered to proceed immediately with the final digitization and printing process.” This order arises after a unanimous vote was not achieved among the electoral commissioners to approve the ballot, so the president of the EEC, Francisco Rosado Colomer, gave the go-ahead to proceed with digitization and printing.
Today's determination is part of the case that on August 25, the high judicial forum decided to address that it seeks to have the referendum declared unconstitutional.
In the Court's Resolution at that time, the consolidation of the popular legislator Luis Vega Ramos' claim with similar ones was ordered.
In essence, Vega Ramos proposed to the Supreme Court that after the Federal Department of Justice denied him the endorsement of the consultation on July 29, and with this action the authorization to use $ 2.5 million for an educational campaign, the process lacks a legitimate public purpose.
Regarding the controversy over the ballots, the presiding judge of the Supreme Court, Maite Oronoz Rodríguez, indicated that she would have granted the appeal “until this court expresses itself on the appeals that a majority decided to issue.”
Associate Judge Anabelle Rodríguez Rodríguez issued, for her part, a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Associate Judge Ángel Colón Pérez, in which he criticized the majority decision.
“The action of the majority, then, guarantees that the State Elections Commission continues to have public funds to hold an electoral event that advances a particular political ideology, as has been recognized by the United States Department of Justice,” said Rodríguez Rodriguez.
“The mere affinity with a particular ideology does not justify a fickle surrender of the members of this Court to their role as the highest interpreters of our Constitution and guarantors of the rule of law that is based on judicial precedents. To understand that the precedent set forth in Báez Galib and others and. State Elections Commission, 152 DPR 382 (2000) makes it imperative to stop the proceedings before the EEC and in protection of judicial independence, I have the obligation to disagree ”, he added.
For his part, Judge Luis Estrella Martínez, who agreed with the Supreme Court's decision, stated that “although this Court has the power to issue timely remedies in electoral events before a final and firm judgment is handed down, I consider that in this case In particular, it is not appropriate to exercise it because the petitioners' request would have the direct effect of delaying the printing process of all the ballots for next November 3. It is not about inconsistency but about inadmissibility in law. The voting record of all the judges of this Court is public. Outside of this room they know well who is consistent or inconsistent with their decisions, whether to restrict or recognize individual guarantees. Note that in this case important guarantees are also present, such as the right to vote and freedom of expression. These guarantees should not be paralyzed today, as the petitioners claim and the dissent endorses ”.