A judge on Monday granted a temporary restraining order and an injunction requested by The Virgin Islands Daily News and ordered the St. Croix Board of Elections to allow public access to the recount process. Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes said Monday afternoon that the board will get whatever measures are necessary to accommodate the public in place before resuming the recount. A press release will be issued to notify the public when the recount will continue, she said. The Daily News on Friday filed a complaint in V.I. Superior Court, petitioning the court for the temporary restraining order and emergency injunctive relief, after the St. Croix Board of Elections on Thursday booted the public and the media out of the conference room where a recount of votes for certain candidates was starting.
The amended complaint named the V.I. Joint Board of Elections; the St. Croix District Board of Elections; Fawkes; St. Croix board members Lisa Harris Moorhead, Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal and Rupert Ross Jr.; and the V.I. government.
The three board members played an active role in advising members of the public on Thursday that they interpreted the law to mean that the public was not to be allowed in, and in ordering members of the public out of the room where the recount was to take place.
V.I. Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks on Monday found that the board members were wrong in their interpretation of the law and verbally granted The Daily News request for the restraining order and injunction. He ordered the board to accommodate the public for the recount. Willocks said a written order and opinion would be forthcoming.