Sen. Alicia Hansen plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her vote recount case, after the V.I. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that ordered a stop to the recount. The V.I. Supreme Court issued the decision upholding Judge Harold Willocks’ Dec. 24 ruling granting a writ of mandamus in a case filed by Sen. Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly against the V.I. government and the St. Croix Board of Elections. Hansen intervened in that case. Rivera-O’Reilly, who was seventh among elected St. Croix senators, filed the case in V.I. Superior Court on Dec. 8 – four days after the board began the recount of Hansen’s write-in votes. Rivera-O’Reilly asked the court to stop the recount on the grounds that it was illegal. The territory’s high court on Thursday found that although the lower court’s decision granting the writ was correct, its reasoning was wrong.
Willocks on Christmas Eve granted the writ of mandamus, ordering the St. Croix Board of Elections to deny Hansen’s petition for a recount and making null and void any actions taken as a result of the board’s moving forward with the recount. Willocks found that Hansen did not have standing to seek a recount because, as a write-in, she was not a candidate as the law defines “candidate.”
Willocks also addressed other issues raised in Rivera-O’Reilly’s petition, and concluded that if Hansen had standing, Rivera-O’Reilly’s remaining claims would have failed.
The same day Willocks issued the writ, the board had been set to meet and announce the results of the recount for Hansen along with results of recounts for unsuccessful Board of Elections candidate Epiphane Joseph and Sen. Diane Capehart, who lost a bid for re-election.