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Puerto Rico's Botched Primary Ends With Governor Losing

Second round of voting goes more smoothly
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 17, 2020 2:24 AM CDT

(Newser) – Puerto Rican Gov. Wanda Vázquez on Sunday acknowledged losing the primary of her pro-statehood party to Pedro Pierluisi, who briefly served as the US territory's governor last year amid political turmoil. With more than 78% of electoral colleges reporting late Sunday, Pierluisi received more than 57% of the vote compared with more than 42% for Vázquez, the AP reports. “We have to abide by the decision of the majority,” Vázquez said in a brief speech where she warned Pierluisi that he should “aspire” to have the support of those who voted for her. She will remain as governor until the winner of Puerto Rico's Nov. 3 general elections takes office. Pierluisi spoke shortly after Vázquez and said the governor can count on him: “We all have to be united to push Puerto Rico forward.” Puerto Rico's general elections will see a record six candidates running for governor.

The results come one week after delayed and missing ballots led to a chaotic primary that forced a second round of voting on Sunday in which thousands of Puerto Ricans got a second chance to vote for the first time. Voting centers in nearly 50 of the island's 78 municipalities opened following a recent US Supreme Court decision that stated a second round of voting would take place at centers that never opened on Aug. 9 or did not remain open the required eight hours. But the Supreme Court's ruling permanently left out voters like Eldy Correa, a 67-year-old retiree who went to her voting center in the southwest town of Cabo Rojo three times last Sunday and desisted only to find out later that it opened late. “They took away our right to vote,” she said. Many Puerto Ricans remained angry and embarrassed over a botched primary that many say was a blow to the US territory's democracy.

(Read more Puerto Rico stories.)

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