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Friday, May 20, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesVETO OF ELECTION PROVISION RAISES QUESTIONS

VETO OF ELECTION PROVISION RAISES QUESTIONS

Gov. Charles Turnbull’s line-item veto of a section of a potentially cost-saving election bill is raising questions.
The governor vetoed a part of a bill that would have required all political parties in the territory to select their own candidates for public office and pay for that process, either primary election, convention or other method.
Considering the cost savings the move would have afforded the V.I. Election System, Raymond "Usie" Richards, chairman of the Joint Boards of Elections, said Turnbull must be "confused" about the bill.
"The major reason for having parties conduct their own primaries was due to the exorbitant cost the government has incurred over the years to conduct these primaries, at times with very low voter turn out," Richards said in a release Tuesday. "The action of Gov. Turnbull will require at least $175,000 from the non-existent coffers of the government of the Virgin Islands."
Richards added that the Election System’s present budget "does not include a single penny for the conduct of a primary."
In his veto message, Turnbull said the process requiring the Board of Elections to certify the election of candidates for public offices would "create an unnecessary expense and controversy" because of the general election in November. The general election also will include a referendum on reducing the size of the Senate.
Richards, however, said that wasn’t the case. Because of a series of public hearings three years ago on the issue, the affected parties were aware of – and supported – the move to have them conduct primaries for both candidates for party positions and public offices. Further, Richards said the November referendum has nothing to do with the primary elections that are held in September.
"It is obvious that Gov. Turnbull is confused relative to the difference between the primary and general elections," said Richards. "The referendum has absolutely nothing to do with the a primary election…
"Likewise, the only costly measure we will incur is based solely on Gov. Turnbull’s veto…"
Turnbull’s decision also puzzled Sen. Anne Golden, who supported the original bill to have political parties cover the cost of primaries. Along with saving money, she said the move was a first step in local election reform.
"I thought the administration was serious about cutting the cost of government," Golden said. "I’m completely surprised by the move. A convention run by parties cuts the cost to the government."
Richards criticized former Senate President Lorraine Berry for sitting on the Election System’s proposals in 1998. He also questioned why Turnbull, when Democrats and Republicans already conduct elections to send delegates to their respective conventions, objects to the change.
"Does the Gov. Turnbull realize that parties are already vested with the task of conduction primaries for party offices in September 2000? If this fact is acknowledged, then what is the problem with including the election of party members for public offices?"
Golden, meanwhile, said she wasn't immediately sure if are enough votes in the Senate to attempt an override of the veto.

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Gov. Charles Turnbull’s line-item veto of a section of a potentially cost-saving election bill is raising questions.
The governor vetoed a part of a bill that would have required all political parties in the territory to select their own candidates for public office and pay for that process, either primary election, convention or other method.
Considering the cost savings the move would have afforded the V.I. Election System, Raymond "Usie" Richards, chairman of the Joint Boards of Elections, said Turnbull must be "confused" about the bill.
"The major reason for having parties conduct their own primaries was due to the exorbitant cost the government has incurred over the years to conduct these primaries, at times with very low voter turn out," Richards said in a release Tuesday. "The action of Gov. Turnbull will require at least $175,000 from the non-existent coffers of the government of the Virgin Islands."
Richards added that the Election System’s present budget "does not include a single penny for the conduct of a primary."
In his veto message, Turnbull said the process requiring the Board of Elections to certify the election of candidates for public offices would "create an unnecessary expense and controversy" because of the general election in November. The general election also will include a referendum on reducing the size of the Senate.
Richards, however, said that wasn’t the case. Because of a series of public hearings three years ago on the issue, the affected parties were aware of – and supported – the move to have them conduct primaries for both candidates for party positions and public offices. Further, Richards said the November referendum has nothing to do with the primary elections that are held in September.
"It is obvious that Gov. Turnbull is confused relative to the difference between the primary and general elections," said Richards. "The referendum has absolutely nothing to do with the a primary election...
"Likewise, the only costly measure we will incur is based solely on Gov. Turnbull’s veto..."
Turnbull’s decision also puzzled Sen. Anne Golden, who supported the original bill to have political parties cover the cost of primaries. Along with saving money, she said the move was a first step in local election reform.
"I thought the administration was serious about cutting the cost of government," Golden said. "I’m completely surprised by the move. A convention run by parties cuts the cost to the government."
Richards criticized former Senate President Lorraine Berry for sitting on the Election System’s proposals in 1998. He also questioned why Turnbull, when Democrats and Republicans already conduct elections to send delegates to their respective conventions, objects to the change.
"Does the Gov. Turnbull realize that parties are already vested with the task of conduction primaries for party offices in September 2000? If this fact is acknowledged, then what is the problem with including the election of party members for public offices?"
Golden, meanwhile, said she wasn't immediately sure if are enough votes in the Senate to attempt an override of the veto.