Puerto Rico Electoral Law (2000 Edition)
In Puerto Rico, government by common consent constitutes the main principle
of our democracy; for that reason, the Puerto Rican people aspire to fully
participate in all electoral procedures.
Based on this aspiration, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto
Rico consecrates the right to universal, equal, direct and free suffrage,
through which each citizen can cast his vote in accordance with the dictates
of his conscience. The guarantee of this right, provided in our Constitution,
and established as an example in other western democracies, represents the
most effective instrument for citizen participation. Our constitutional mandate
also extends express recognition and categorical rights to the political
parties, subject to the rights and prerogatives of
In order to assure those guarantees of procedural integrity which are necessary
to count each vote in the form and manner in which it is cast, and at the
same time, guarantee the confidence of the Puerto Rican electorate in suffrage
procedures that are free from fraud and violence, Act No. 4 of December 20,
1977, as amended, known as the "Puerto Rico Electoral Act", was passed;
henceforth Electoral Law [16 LPRA 3001-3383].
The Electoral Law creates the Commonwealth Elections Commission (henceforth
the Commission), defines its functions, duties and powers; declares which
are the rights and prerogatives of the voters;
sets forth the procedures for registration at the
Permanent Registration Boards; everything concerning
political parties and candidacies; establishes voting procedures in general,
special and primary elections, and fixes penalties for violations of this
law, among other things.
The Commission is composed of a Chairman, who is its Executive Officer and
represents the public interest, and an Electoral Commissioner representing
each of the principal political parties, parties by petition or coalesced
parties. A First, a Second and a Third Vice-Chairperson are also members
of the Commission, who have a voice but no vote. Attendance to the meetings
by the Chairman and two (2) Commissioners constitutes a quorum.
The Commission has original jurisdiction, either motu propio or at the request
of the interested party, to consider, take cognizance and resolve any matter
or controversy of an electoral nature. Every agreement must be approved by
the unanimous vote of the Commissioners present when it is voted upon. Any
matter submitted to the consideration of said Commission which does not receive
a unanimous vote shall be decided, for or against, by the Chairman, whose
decision shall be deemed to be that of the Commission, and may be appealed
in the manner provided in the own law.
Other functions, powers and duties of the Commission, with regard to planning,
organizing, structuring, directing and supervising the electoral body and
all electoral procedures that govern any election to be held in Puerto Rico,
are detailed in the Electoral Law and corresponding regulations.
Full Spanish-language text of the
Puerto Rico Electoral Law (2000 Edition) - in PDF format (514 Kb; requires
Adobe Acrobat Reader,
Amendments to the Puerto Rico Electoral Law (2000
Edition) - in Spanish