Politics in Puerto Rico have been a tense state of affairs in recent history. Protests and resignations have become all too common. Not to mention that the U.S. territory has been struggling to recover from multiple natural disasters.

On August 9, Puerto Rico was slated to hold its gubernatorial primary, a feat already made more complicated by COVID-19. But now many Puerto Ricans may have to risk gathering again after new problems arose.

Not enough ballots, many residents unable to vote

Puerto Ricans turned out to exercise their right to vote. Many of them stood in line for hours in dangerous temperatures.

It also took place in the midst of a spike in cases of a contagious deadly disease. And in the end, they were unable to cast a vote anyway.

Despite assurances from local authorities, things were not good to go by voting day. Multiple polling places in Puerto Rico never received any ballots, according to The Washington Post. It effectively crippled the ability to vote for thousands of people in the territory.

Polling places that did receive ballots like they were supposed to would continue operating. But serious issues still remain. In a show of bipartisanship, the leaders of Puerto Rico's two biggest rivaling parties held a joint press conference. They said they agreed that the affected polling places would finish the primary on August 16.

But Politico notes that such a thing might not even be legal. Even if it is, not everybody is necessarily in favor of that option. Some people have already called for what is essentially a do-over. It would involve scrapping the votes that have already been cast and doing it all over again at a later date.

Five candidates in the running for the two biggest nominations

Incumbent Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced is running for the New Progressive Party nomination. Going into the election, she was a slight favorite over her opponent, Pedro Pierlusi. Pierlusi had been the acting governor before her. His previous positions include resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, the territory's non-voting member of Congress.

Three candidates remained in the race for the nomination from the Popular Democratic Party. Recent polls showed an edge for Carlos Delgado Altier, mayor of Isabela in northwestern Puerto Rico. The other two candidates are Eduardo Bhatia and Carmen Yulin Cruz. Bhatia is the minority leader and former president of the Senate of Puerto Rico. Cruz is the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital and most populous city. She is formerly of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives.

The issue of statehood is the primary difference between the two parties. The New Progress Party pushes for it, the Popular Democratic Party does not. Affiliation with major national parties can become murkier. For example, Vazquez Garced and Pierlusi are both members of the same party at a territorial level. But not at a federal level. Vazquez Garced is a Republican, Pierlusi is a Democrat.