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Objections to appointment of new Chairman of Elections and Boundaries Commission

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Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2020. 3:39 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Attorney Estevan Perrera is seeking appointment as chair of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) for a five-year period.

He would succeed Douglas Singh, who resigned in April and whose appointment would have expired in 2021.

The appointment must be made by the Prime Minister with the concurrence of the Leader of the Opposition.

Senators Elena Smith and Louis Zabaneh pointed out that ideally, the chair should not be someone who openly supports any of the political parties and there are questions about Perrera’s support for the United Democratic Party (for whom he has acted as a temporary Senator).

Senator Osmany Salas made note that while he has no questions about Perrera’s personal integrity, his appointment is ultimately bigger than him and bigger than the political parties.

Salas pointed to the delayed redistricting process, which he expects will not happen before general elections are called, while Zabaneh made note that the Department has just started to prepare statistics as to how many voters are transferring between divisions as is typical for the months of July and August.

PUP Lead Opposition Senator Michel Chebat suggested the Government was “plucking” Perrera “out of the recycling bin,” citing that his appointments to various Boards including the Social Security Board (SSB) took place under the current administration, and that there is a question about his independence and strength of character to take on questions of voter fraud and election fraud.

Senator Mark Lizarraga said he had never gotten so much feedback about the appointments of Perrera and Deshawn Arzu-Torres, discussed earlier, but he concurred that those he represents are not sold on Perrera, and his own call to him focused on safety of the election and not, for example, on redistricting. Lizarraga himself says the major parties have enjoyed the benefits of the unequal districts and are not prepared to “rock the boat,” but many others disagree, citing the need for campaign finance reform, vote-buying regulations and so on.

But speaking for the Government, Macario Coy pointed out that Perrera will not be working alone and deserves an opportunity to prove himself at the job.

 

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