Superior Court Judge Douglas Brady issued an opinion Friday saying that the St. Croix District Board of Elections’ removal of former Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen’s name from the 2016 General Election ballot was “improper and contrary to V.I. law.”
In response to the ruling, the St. Croix board has called an emergency meeting Monday at 3 p.m. The board took action Aug. 31 overriding the supervisor of elections’ decision to certify Hansen’s position on the ballot when it was discovered that the name on her birth certificate was Alden Alicia Pickering.
Brady heard arguments at a Wednesday hearing, where Hansen testified that she had always used Alicia as her Christian name and the surname of her adopted parents: Hansen. She also testified that she married Esdel Hansen in 1976. Although Esdel has the same surname as Alicia’s adopted parents, they are separate families.
The court’s 15-page memorandum opinion goes over the facts elicited at the hearing and those agreed to by both parties. Then it delves into case law. The court concluded that after her marriage in 1976 her legal surname was Hansen.
To be a qualified registered voter, a candidate must give a surname and “Christian name or names.” Since “Alicia” is one of the names that appears on Hansen’s birth certificate, there seems to be no inconsistency there either.
“Inconsistencies” concerning the names were the main reason cited by the board for keeping Hansen off the ballot.
The memorandum opinion concludes: “The Court finds that both the Plaintiff (Hansen) and the electorate of the Virgin Islands would suffer irreparable harm if Defendants, St. Croix Board of Elections, the Joint Board of Elections and Caroline Fawkes, acting in her official capacity as Supervisor of Elections, are not enjoined from implementing the decision to remove the Plaintiff from 2016 General Election ballot based on a failure to comply with V.I.C. 8 Sections 100 (C) (1)-(2) and that in this light the issuance of a permanent injunction best serves the public interest. An appropriate Judgment Order shall enter herewith.”
Ballots for the General Election have not been printed yet. Deadline for the approval of a draft ballot was Friday, but it has not been approved as of yet. Deadlines were pushed back in the 2014 election process when Hansen was in a different eligibility fight.