Erik (HASH) Hersman / CC-BY-2.0

Days before Hillary Clinton won the primary in Puerto Rico, the party reduced polling locations from 1,510 to 432.

Heavy reported Sunday:

In a decision that is disturbingly reminiscent of problems seen in Arizona, polling locations in Puerto Rico were reduced from 1,510 to 432. On May 5, the Democratic Party announced there would be 1,510 polling places, according to Caribbean Business. The drastically reduced number was announced on May 27, with the remaining locations being open only for local voting and not the presidential primary. You can read a discussion about the whole thing on this Reddit thread.

In contrast, according to a press release by Grassroots for Bernie volunteers, the 2008 Democratic primary in Puerto Rico had 2,306 polling places serving 384,758 voters. There will only be 432 for the 2016 primary.

This is especially a problem because polling hours are only from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. local time. This could lead to long lines or some voters even being turned away, like they were in Arizona. This ended up happening. Some locations reported long lines and even some people passing out from standing in line in the heat for so long.

In Arizona, similar drastic reductions became such a huge issue that people ended up waiting in line for hours and hours just to vote, with some not able to vote until late into the night. …

The decrease in polling stations could turn a primary that was expected to have 600,000 voters participating into one with just 300,000 voters, Caribbean Business reported. On Reddit, one person suggested the problem was that they didn’t have enough poll workers and ballots have to be counted manually. However, this doesn’t make much sense, considering that in 2008 they were able to handle 2,306 polling places.

Caribbean Business reported that Bernie Sanders’ campaign team accused the leadership of the local Democratic Party of fraud, “saying they hindered the certification process of their voting center officials,” according to the news site.

The Hispanic vote director for the campaign of the Vermont senator, Betsy Franceschini, denounced a series of irregularities her work team faced Friday while thousands of inmates at the island’s correctional facilities were voting.

“Our Bernie Sanders officials were never certified. We had 40 officials we submitted in time for the prisons. Not one of them was certified, while all of theirs [Hillary Clinton’s] went in. Attorney Manny Suárez had to go in order for us to be let in. This is a great fraud,” Franceschini said in a phone interview with Caribbean Business.

Continue reading.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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