A bill sponsored by Senator Kenneth Gittens, who has been working for many months to reform the territory’s election process, was narrowly approved by members of the Committee on Rules and Judiciary, which Mr. Gittens chairs, albeit with some opposition and not before an amendment was added to the measure. Bill no. 31-0267 would amend Virgin Islands Code to merge all three board of elections — St. Croix District board, St. Thomas District board and the Joint Board of Elections — into one system that would simply be called the Board of Elections; and would govern the entire territory. The details of the measure, however, caused some concern at the hearing, held at the Fritz E. Lawaetz Legislative Hall here on Wednesday, including from St. Croix District Board Member Raymond Williams, who said some parts of the measure may be unconstitutional.
There was also opposition from former Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen, who agreed that the process needed to be streamlined, but said it should be done by the Joint Board of Elections “under the structure that currently exists.”
“It is important that the concerns and positions of the voters of both districts be adequately represented and this would allow for that. However, we cannot have elections run one way in St. Thomas and another in St. Croix. We are one territory and the elections are territorial,” Mrs. Christensen said in a written testimony document provided to The Consortium.