After a meeting that lasted only15 minutes, St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections members voted Monday not to certify the April 8 special election results and left the matter in the hands of the Senate to figure out. The special election was triggered in the wake of a back-and-forth between Kevin Rodriquez and Janelle Sarauw, who, at this point, have both been elected to fill the same St. Thomas-St. John District Senate seat. At a special meeting earlier this month, Elections board attorney Julita de Leon said that Rodriquez would first have to be decertified in order for Sarauw to sit, and by law, only the Legislature has the authority to make that happen.
Rodriquez came in sixth in the November general election and, at the time, the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections certified the final vote with him as the winner of the final senate seat.
But in December, Sarauw, the eighth place candidate, and a campaign worker sued in V.I. Superior Court to stop Rodriquez from being seated, arguing that Rodriquez had asserted in court documents filed in 2016 that he was a bona fide resident of Tennessee and therefore could not meet the three-year residency requirement set by V.I. law. An initial ruling from Superior Court Judge Kathleen Mackay was in favor of Rodriquez, but her ruling was overturned days later by the V.I. Supreme Court, which determined that in his bankruptcy petition Rodriquez swore under penalty of perjury that he lived in Tennessee and had not lived in another state anytime during the preceding three years.