San Juan, Oct 9 : A judge in San Juan ruled Monday that Puerto Ricans who are ill and with limited mobility can vote in the Nov 6 elections by mail from home.

The decision by Judge Isidro Garcia Pesquera dismissed the plea by the electoral commissioner of the main opposition PPD party, Eder Ortiz, that Law 135 be revised since the statute does not guarantee that votes cast in such a manner will be secret nor will there be any control over the ballots once they are sent.

"After a detailed study of the law in question, we understand it to be evident that the procedure established by the CEE (State Elections Commission) to receive the votes of `bedridden' voters by mail has equal or more guarantees than the procedure used previously," the judge said in a statement cited in the daily El Nuevo Dia.

Garcia Pesquera's ruling will allow the CEE to send 17,794 ballots to people too disabled to go to the polls.

The previous procedure permitted representatives of political parties to visit the homes of sick voters in order to collect their ballots.

Puerto Ricans will go to the polls to elect a new governor Nov 6. The ballot will also include a non-binding referendum on whether the island should remain a US commonwealth or seek full statehood.


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