More than 90 percent of absentee ballots for the 2018 runoff election have to be remade, according to V.I. Board of Elections Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr., an unavoidable reality of the short time span between the General Election and the runoff. On Tuesday, Watlington said board members on St. Thomas counted 273 absentee ballots — of which, more than 250 will have to be remade because they are not “official” runoff election ballots and cannot be fed into the voting machines. Watlington said the two weeks between the Nov. 6 General Election and Nov. 20 runoff election gave little time for elections officials to order and receive new ballots.
US Virgin Islands
Articles about voting issues in the US Virgin Islands.
US Virgin Islands: Court Blocks New Voter Registrations Before Nov. 20 Runoff Election | St. John Source
V.I. Superior Court Judge Denise Francois has granted a temporary restraining order “enjoining, restraining and prohibiting Defendant Arturo Watlington, in his capacity as chairman of the Board of Elections and the Virgin Islands Board of Elections” from allowing voter registration in the St. Thomas-St. John district ahead of next week’s runoff election for governor and lieutenant governor, the V.I. Department of Justice announced Wednesday. Meanwhile, the fact that one district planned to register voters while the other did not appears to fly in the face of the intent, if not the explicit wording, of a 2016 V.I. law unifying former district elections boards into a single board.
The V.I. Board of Elections postponed its certification of the Democratic primary election Friday after members realized the final certification document did not include a territory-wide tally for the gubernatorial and senator at-large races. Elections Board Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr. said the document showed only the district results for both races and that he would not certify the election until the document showed a merged, territory-wide result. “Why would we certify these numbers if they only reflect the districts?” Watlington asked. “Our certification has to be territorial, as one entity.”
US Virgin Islands: Elections Board Fields Challenges About Machine Irregularities | St. Croix Source
With the counting of outstanding ballots complete in both districts, V.I. Joint Board of Elections members convened Thursday to resolve several challenges filed by or against candidates running in the August Democratic primary. Nearly two hours was spent at the beginning of the meeting dealing with a recount petition filed by St. Croix Senate candidate Nemmy Jackson-Williams, whose concerns centered on irregularities experienced by voters using machines either during the early voting process or on primary election day. Specifically, two witnesses called by Jackson-Williams and her campaign manager Dale Brown said the voting machines they used didn’t accept their ballots the first time around, and once the ballots were accepted, the screens on the machines didn’t show the voters who they actually voted for.
Early voting will be slightly later today than anticipated. V.I. Elections Board Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr. said voting could not start until after noon today after testing the machines revealed an inconsistency in how the devices read the ballots. The machines were reading and reporting under-voting for the offices of governor and senator-at-large, but for the main legislative race, in which voters can choose up to seven senators, no under-voting was being reported. Under-voting is the process of selecting fewer candidates for some offices while selecting the maximum number in other races — for example, choosing three senators instead of seven, or voting for seven district senators and withholding a vote in the governor’s race.
US Virgin Islands: Elections officials push early voting later … again | Virgin Islands Daily News.com
Early voting has been delayed — again. According to Elections Board Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr., early voting for the Aug. 4 Democratic primary will now begin Monday and end July 25. The announcement, made Thursday at a Board of Elections meeting, marks the third delay in early voting for the primary, with dates previously scheduled for July 10 and July 14. The date changes are largely because of a delay in paying a Nebraska-based contractor — Elections System and Software — an estimated $18,000 for developing and shipping the ballots to the territory, according to Watlington.
Supervisor of Elections Caroline Fawkes met with BVI election officials recently to talk about the territory’s experience with the use of DS 200 Voting Scanner/Tabulator Machine over the years.\ The machines; DS 200 paper ballot tabulators make by ES&S, were a pet project of St. Croix District Board of Elections Chairman Adelbert Bryan, who spearheaded a campaign against the old, 1980s-vintage Danaher Electronic 1242 machines. Bryant said the old machines were unreliable and could be manipulated. Despite many public claims, no evidence that they can actually be manipulated or that they ever have been manipulated was presented. The territory switched to the new machines in 2013. The machines did not count votes by party symbol correctly in 2014, leading to controversy. The software was subsequently updated.
US Virgin Islands: As Election Year Dawns, Board Of Elections Offices Remain Closed ‘Until Further Notice’ | Virgin Islands Consortium
With another big election year just days away and voter registration drives looking to start early next year, Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes said in a release issued Wednesday that the St. Croix and St. John Elections offices will remain closed “until further notice.” “The St. Croix District Office located at Sunny Isle Annex Unit 4, remains closed until further notice as we deal with major renovations after Hurricane Maria,” Mrs. Fawkes said. “We do not have the capability to provide any voter’s identification cards, we can only register voters. The St. John Elections Office has no internet service; therefore, we also cannot provide any voter identification cards. The St. John residents can register at the St. Thomas Elections Office. Presently, the only functional Elections Office is the St. Thomas Office, which is 90 percent operational.”
US Virgin Islands: Elections Board Compelled to Certify Sarauw’s Election When It Meets in Two Weeks | St. Croix Source
The St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections must certify the April 8 special election results, according to a judge’s order, clearing the way for Janelle Sarauw to take the vacant seat in the V.I. Senate. Board members said Thursday they will deal with the issue in two weeks. According to a short ruling issued Thursday by Superior Court Judge Kathleen Mackay, Sarauw had “no other means” of obtaining emergency relief and is therefore entitled mandamus relief.
After a meeting that lasted only15 minutes, St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections members voted Monday not to certify the April 8 special election results and left the matter in the hands of the Senate to figure out. The special election was triggered in the wake of a back-and-forth between Kevin Rodriquez and Janelle Sarauw, who, at this point, have both been elected to fill the same St. Thomas-St. John District Senate seat. At a special meeting earlier this month, Elections board attorney Julita de Leon said that Rodriquez would first have to be decertified in order for Sarauw to sit, and by law, only the Legislature has the authority to make that happen.