Half a dozen concerned residents gathered Thursday outside the V.I. Elections Office in Crystal Gade where they officially turned in petitions to recall five members of the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections. Coupled with a similar move on St. Croix recently, only three members out of the 14 elected to the V.I. Joint Board of Elections have been the targets of recall petitions: Those members are Adelbert Bryan, Lawrence Boschulte and Wilma Marsh Monsanto. The rest – St. Thomas-St. John board members Alecia Wells, Lorna Thomas, Colette White-Amaro, Claudette Georges and Harry Daniel, along with St. Croix board members Rupert Ross Jr., Lisa Moorhead, Dodson James, Raymond Williams, Carmen Golden and Ana Davila – have had individual recall petitions filed against them.
On both islands, the move has been led by a loosely organized group of residents who say they are deeply concerned by the state of the V.I. Election System. Many of them regularly attend board meetings, which is a contrast to prior years, when public observers rarely attended. “We just a group of disgruntled residents and voters who come to meetings and want things to change,” said Herman Richards, who was involved in the petitions on St. Thomas.
Many of the claims initially stemmed from a decision banning the use of paper ballots in the 2010 elections. The use of provisional ballots used to be an option for voters who preferred not to use the voting machines, but a legal battle in V.I. Superior Court last year forced the board’s hand in only offering the paper or provisional ballots under a narrow set of circumstances, the board said at the time.