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The Commissioner in the Dominican Republic (Welles) to the Secretary of State

15. The legal period for the completion by the municipal electoral boards of the permanent electoral registers in their respective communes expired at midnight February 24. The boards of the three largest communes—Santo Domingo, Santiago and La Vega—have each failed to include some hundreds of citizens who had registered before the legal period for the completion of the lists had terminated. This failure was largely due to the obstructive methods pursued [Page 623] by the representatives of the Coalition Party on the electoral boards in question.

The Coalition Party yesterday advised the Commission that it protest[s] against the legality of the election to be held in those communes as well as in others on the ground that qualified voters will be deprived of their legal privileges as well as on the ground that the electoral boards had resorted to illegal methods in the formation of electoral registers. This protest was made notwithstanding the fact that the electoral law makes specific provision for the inclusion or exclusion of qualified voters in the electoral registers after the lists are terminated by means of petitions addressed during the five days subsequent to the municipal boards, which petitions may also be carried on appeal to the Central Electoral Board. The Coalition Party through its representative on the Commission demanded that the requirement in the electoral law that citizens in order to vote must be included in the permanent electoral register, be abolished. It demanded that all inhabitants in the Republic be permitted to vote on election day, the only control maintained to be the presence of political observers in polling booths or without. After prolonged discussion lasting over 18 hours the members of the Commission unanimously adopted my counterproposal that in order to obviate the difficulties presented, an extension of two days be granted the municipal boards above referred to in which to complete the electoral register; and that a similar extension be granted for the purpose of demanding the inclusion or exclusion of voters in those communes after the registers were completed. The adoption of the proposal of the Coalition Party would necessarily have implied complete abandonment of the basic principle upon which the entire electoral procedure under the present law is built up.

The promulgation today by the President of a decree embodying the modification adopted by the Commission has rendered it impossible for any elections to be annulled on the ground that the electoral registers were not completed within the legal time limit.