Uncertainty about the territory’s 2012 election will last right up until the territory’s first swearing-in ceremony on Monday. District Judge Raymond Finch on Friday listened to almost four hours of arguments and testimony via teleconference about whether he should grant the request of five unsuccessful 2012 candidates to throw out the territory’s certified election results and grant a new election on a single-page paper ballot. At the end of the hearing, Finch gave the plaintiffs until Sunday to respond to the government’s motion to dismiss their complaint in advance of his ruling, which he said he intends to issue prior to Monday’s scheduled swearing-in of Board of Education members.
… It was not until later in the hearing, when Olive questioned the next witness, St. Thomas-St. John Board Chairwoman Alecia Wells, that any direct testimony was given addressing whether election laws were violated.
Olive asked Wells whether she was aware of V.I. Act 7334, which requires that only voting machines compliant with the federal Help America Vote Act be used as “official voting systems or equipment” in the territory. He then asked her whether the machines used in the 2012 elections met this compliance requirement.
“No,” Wells said.
Wells went on to explain that the board’s decision to use the machines despite their non-compliance with the law was based on an opinion from V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer.
According to Wells, Frazer told the board the machines were OK to use because they were the same machines the territory has been using for more than 20 years and that nothing in federal law prevented their use.