The St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections is in violation of a federal consent order that mandated the board to send out absentee ballots to overseas military personnel by June 17. During an emergency meeting called for Friday afternoon at the board’s offices in Lockhart Gardens on St. Thomas, board members were irate with the V.I. Elections System for not better communicating the status of the ballots in the last two weeks. They said that during that time, they thought that the ballots were finalized and sent out to military members. “We have a crisis,” said Arturo Watlington Jr., chairman of the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections. The U.S. Attorney’s Office asked the V.I. Attorney General’s Office to check on the status of sending out ballots for the Aug. 2 primary election in the territory, at which point the territorial office discovered this week that the ballots had not yet been finalized.
The V.I. Attorney General’s Office sent a letter recommending a series of steps that the board take to catalyze the process, including holding the emergency meeting Friday afternoon. “I’m really a little embarrassed. It’s a little disconcerting that we are where we are,” Watlington said.
The board initially finalized the ballots in a June 13 meeting, though members were surprised to find that changes needed to be made when they attended a June 16 meeting.
Three days later, the board convened for the second time that week and discovered that the board missed the deadline and still had small edits to make to the ballots.