Juan Ernesto Dávila left office less than 60 days before the general election, but says all preparations are on track so voting can proceed as planned on Nov. 3.
SAN JUAN — Juan Ernesto Dávila, president of the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish initials) resigned on Thursday, effective immediately, in the midst of criticism of his performance during the botched local primaries.
“Effective immediately, I resign as president of the State Elections Commission. The well-being of my family, friends, and church brothers led me to make this decision. I pray to the Lord for the common good of Puerto Rico, the CEE, and the electoral commissioners,” Dávila said in a written statement received by The Americano.
Dávila has to appear before a panel of judges at the Court of Appeals next Tuesday for a hearing on two remaining complaints requesting his dismissal. His written statement affirms his resignation has nothing to do with that process.
“The Court of Appeals already dismissed most of [the complaints]. Several lies, insults, and slanderous statements directed at this public servant have circulated. Telling a lie many times does not make it true. To those who have made these expressions I say: ‘God bless you,’ ” Dávila said.
On Aug. 9, voting on the primaries had to be stopped after polling statinos opened late or not at all because of a lack of sufficient ballots in nearly 50 of 78 municipalities on the island. The United States Supreme Court decided that a second round of voting for the primaries would take place on Aug. 16.
Since then, politicians from the incumbent New Progressive Party (PNP by its Spanish initials) — including Gov. Wanda Vázquez — and the opposing Popular Democratic Party (PPD by its Spanish initials), as well as the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP by its Spanish initials), and Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana have demanded Dávila’s resignation.
The now-former president of the CEE had previously stated, after the first round of primaries, that he would resign after the electoral event. But after the second round of primaries, he did not mention resigning even though some electoral commissioners were still demanding he step down.
Earlier this week, the PNP completed its primary vote count. The PPD has said that they will finish counting their primary votes this week, blaming Dávila for the delay, which, according to the party, could affect the general election on Nov. 3.
“As of today, we do not have election regulations, absentee voting regulations, or a manual for those regulations in place. Who is responsible for all this? Well, the president [of the electoral commission],” Nicolás Gautier, a seasoned electoral commissioner for the PPD told El Vocero.
In his written statement, Dávila assured that he left the general election process up and running and has always “proceeded according to the law.”
“Because I wish the best for our island, I have continued working on the procedures for the general election, and everything is on track. The authorization to make the advance payment required by PRINTECH as a condition for printing the ballots has already been requested from the Department of the Treasury,” Dávila said.
Dávila is a former judge who was designated CEE president by former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.