Act 6344 that was passed and later signed into law requires the following referendum questions to be asked of Virgin Islands voters:
1 (a) "Should the Legislature petition the United States Congress to amend the Revised Organic Act to reduce the size of the Legislature? And,
1(b) "If your answer to question 1(a) is "YES", please indicate whether you favor a reduction of senators from 15 to…."
I believe that an urgent need exists for the Legislature to convene to clarify the language of the referendum questions that will appear on the November ballot in view of congressional action that has already been taken to address this first question.
Additionally, I believe that the second
question that limits the voter to selecting between 11 and 9 members is prematurely before the voting public since no educational program and no program in which robust debate or discussion on the ramifications of a change from the current 15 member body to a lower number body has taken place.
Additionally, section 1(d) of Act 6344 speaks of a 50 percent-plus-1 vote for either of the two options, "shall be binding." If this means that the Legislature is bound by this vote, I believe that the electorate should have had the
opportunity to engage discussions and debates on this most important matter and with full knowledge of the importance of their vote in selecting one of the two options that they were given to choose from.
I believe that the Legislature needs to act immediately to refine the mandate for the inclusion of referendum questions 1(a) and 1(b) on the November 7th ballot if the electorate is not be confused by being asked to vote on a matter that is now moot. If there is a need for legislative action, such action must be taken immediately and before ballots are printed.
Gaylord A. Sprauve