At its regular meeting on St. Croix on Thursday, the Joint Board of Elections approved a policy about casting paper ballots in the upcoming elections. The eight members in attendance at the meeting all voted to approve the policy that outlines who can vote using a paper ballot; how to record who uses paper ballots; how spoiled ballots will be handled; and how the integrity of the process will be maintained. The board decided that any registered voter can use a paper ballot upon request. Elections officials will write a letter “P” next to the names of voters who request paper ballots. If a paper ballot is spoiled, the voter must write “spoiled” on it and put it into a separate receptacle and then will be issued another paper ballot.
Board member Lorna Thomas asked for changes to the policy regarding a voter handing a folded paper ballot to an election officer to be stamped and placed in the ballot box. Thomas said she had concerns with anyone other than the voter touching a ballot. “No matter what the process is, we are going to be questioned about it,” she said. “Looking at it as a voter, I don’t believe that anybody else should be handling the ballot.” Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Salisbury said the policy could be altered in any way as long as it follows the law. Paper ballots, the voting machines and provisional ballots will be the three voting instruments used in the upcoming elections, per the board’s vote.