The St. Croix District Elections Board discussed plans for election reform and ways to deal with a perceived violation of a contract from the supplier of the territory’s voting machines, which, according to some, did not perform as expected, adding expense and delays to the 2014 general election. … In the past, the board has discussed some of the changes they feel are needed, including revising the general elections ballot, the timing of primary elections to include military voters serving overseas, early voting, deadlines for filing candidacy and retaining independent legal counsel. … The other issue that drew heated discussion was dealing with the company, ES&S, which sold the territory voting machines that were used in the 2014 election. According to Elections, the machines did not perform as promised. After the primary election, board members determined the machines read some votes incorrectly and did not tally cross-voting correctly. As a result, during the general election, voters were not allowed to scan their own ballots but handed them to poll watchers for processing. That procedure did not sit well with residents.
Since the November election, board members have been corresponding with ES&S to correct the mistake for which the company wants to be paid $300,000. Moorhead said threats of a lawsuit are not necessary but the board should not “namby-pamby” the request to retro-fit the machines without cost.
At a meeting Friday, the Joint V.I. Elections Board is scheduled to discuss the sixth version of a letter drafted by the St. Croix board to ES&S, but St. Croix board members could not agree to the points to be made or proper wording. De O’Neal suggested everyone study the material and be prepared to discuss and vote at the St. Thomas meeting Friday.