Several members of the V.I. Joint Board of Elections admitted Thursday that the ballot printed for the November election was not in compliance with the law. There was even some question whether the ballot had been approved by the St. Croix district board. However, an effort to have the ballots reprinted was voted down at the Joint Board meeting on St. Croix.
The flaw in the ballot was the first topic of discussion at the meeting that started an hour late. Former Delegate Donna M. Christensen had written a letter to Elections Supervisor Caroline F. Fawkes on Wednesday in which she wrote, “I have been informed by members of the Democratic Party attending today’s meeting of the St. Croix Board of Elections that the ballot for the General Election of Nov. 8, 2016, does not display the party symbol next to the name of the respective party candidate. That is a violation of the law.”
St. Croix district board member Glenn Webster said, “It is the law we must reprint the ballots.”
Board members then discussed the logistics of reprinting the ballots so near Election Day.
Lisa Harris-Moorhead from the St. Croix board said, “We must do what is practical.”
Early voting starts Saturday. Webster asked whether early voting could be postponed, but received no answer.
St. Croix board member Barbara Jackson McIntosh, who made a motion to reprint the ballots, said from her information the turnaround time for an order to be printed was nine days.
Fawkes, when questioned, said she would not stand by the nine days turnaround. She said that in certain circumstances it could be nine days, but she did not know presently how long a reprinting would take. Fawkes also said that the printing of the ballots without the party symbols was an “oversight” as election employees were trying to comply with a new election law passed by the Legislature.
St. Croix board member Raymond Williams said, “The purpose of putting the symbol there is that some people can’t read. It will be challenged.”
St. Croix board member Adelbert Bryan questioned when the board approved the ballot. He said he was given information about the approval given by the St. Thomas board and was also told that the St. Croix approved the ballot at the meeting “where we put Chucky back on the ballot,” but that a search by staff could not come up with the record of any such motion being approved. Arturo Watlington Jr., St. Thomas/St. John district board member and chairman of the joint board, said his opinion was that if the board approved putting Alicia Hansen on the ballot then it indicated tacit approval for the ballot.
Williams did not buy that argument, he said, adding, “The board did not approve the ballot.”
The meeting was held Election System Office located at Sunny Isle Annex. Due to technical difficulties, the meeting was not teleconferenced to St. Thomas.