SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Puerto Rico urged Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez in a public letter sent today to veto Senate Project 1314, the “internet voting” bill, which, if codified into law, would endanger the security of the island’s elections and jeopardize Puerto Ricans’ voting rights.
The legislation would allow early and absentee voters to vote online for the 2020 general elections; direct the Puerto Rican elections commission to make online voting available for absentee and early voting with an opt-out option by 2020; and make online voting the main voting method on the island by 2028. Election security aside, ongoing civic crises and devastation from Hurricane María make clear that the island’s infrastructure — particularly, electrical power systems essential to internet access — remains precarious and it would be reckless to trust all voting systems to its well-being.
Mayte Bayolo-Alonso, legislative attorney for the ACLU of Puerto Rico, said, “SP 1314 would make Puerto Rico a true outlier: No U.S. state or territory trusts its entire electoral infrastructure, and the votes of millions, to vulnerable and unproven technology. Puerto Rico should not be a laboratory for untested voting systems. Governor Vázquez must veto this reckless legislation.”
Adriel I. Cepeda Derieux, staff attorney for the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said, “There is no secure way to hold elections online. This legislation will expose Puerto Rico’s voting system to hacking and jeopardize Puerto Ricans’ right to vote. The right to vote is not just the right to cast a ballot; it’s the right to have that ballot counted, and there is no way to guarantee that a vote cast online will be counted free from outside interference.”