US Virgin Islands: St. Croix Elections Board Plans for Election Reform | St. Croix Source

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.

US Virgin Islands: EAC sees ‘no reason for concern’ about Elections System’s corrective action plan progress | Virgin Islands Daily News

Elections officials said they got good news after a teleconference with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission on Thursday. The commission representatives were calling to check in with the boards and the V.I. Elections System and provide a status update on the corrective action plan the Elections System implemented following a scathing 2013 audit. In November 2013, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission released an audit that looked at the Elections System’s compliance with the Help America Vote Act of 2002. In the audit report, completed by the Office of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General, Inspector General Curtis Crider said his office found that the V.I. Elections System’s lax posture on internal controls put $3.3 million in Help America Vote Act funds and other funding at risk of fraud, waste or mismanagement.

US Virgin Islands: Judge issues arrest warrant for supervisor of Elections | Virgin Islands Daily News

V.I. Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks has issued a warrant for the arrest of Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes, after she failed to appear Monday at a court hearing for which she had been subpoenaed to offer testimony and provide documents to the court. The hearing stems from the V.I. Superior Court case in which Sen. Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly has challenged the St. Croix Elections Board’s recount of votes cast for Sen. Alicia Hansen, calling the entire process illegal. Calls made by The Daily News to Fawkes’ cellphone on Monday went unanswered. In a brief hearing last week in the case, Fawkes had been given a subpoena to come to court Monday and to bring documents, including Joint Board of Elections motion sheets and attendance records for certain dates pertaining to the General Election.

US Virgin Islands: St. Croix recount will resume today | Virgin Islands Daily News

The St. Croix District Board of Elections is expected to resume its recounting efforts today after V.I. Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks issued an order Monday prohibiting them from proceeding with the recount while barring members of the media or public from observing the count. Following a hearing Monday, Willocks found that the board members were wrong in their interpretation of the law and issued an order from the bench granting The Daily News’ request for the court to issue a restraining order and permanent injunction. He ordered the board to accommodate the public for the recount. On Tuesday afternoon, Daily News legal counsel Semaj Johnson met with Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes and Assistant Attorney General Angela Polk, who is representing the board. They did a walk through of how they expected the recount areas would be set up for public accessibility today when the recount resumes at 10 a.m. The conference room at the Elections System Office in Sunny Isle Annex is being used and is set up similarly to how it was set up during the ballot counts in the days that followed November’s General Election.

US Virgin Islands: Early voting put on hold on St. Croix | Virgin Islands Daily News

With more than 400 ballots already cast early voting was suspended Sunday night in the wake of the V.I. Supreme Court re-affirming its decision that Sen. Alicia Hansen be removed from the ballot. According to a press release, Supervisor of Elections Caroline Fawkes made the decision to comply with the Supreme Court order. It is anyone’s guess when early voting will resume and what course of action the St. Croix District Board of Elections and the Supervisor of Elections will take to ensure that the ballots for the Nov. 4 General Election are in compliance with the order handed down Friday. As part of the opinion by the justices, Supervisor Caroline Fawkes has been ordered to immediately recall all General Election ballots with Hansen’s name and replace them with ballots omitting her as a candidate or in the alternative “remove Hansen’s name from the ballot, such as by covering her name with a sticker”, the opinion read.

US Virgin Islands: Elections Board violates code, fails to certify results of primary on Sunday | Virgin Islands Daily News

The St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections failed to meet the legal deadline for certifying its primary election Sunday, putting it in violation of the V.I. Code. Unofficially, the certification has been put off until Monday, despite the potential consequences. Any person deemed responsible for the delay of the election returns is subject to a $500 maximum fine or a year of imprisonment, or both. Additionally, the “casting of lots” is not supposed to take place within a district unless the district has certified its election. Elections officials said that the casting of lots, which was scheduled for today at 5:30 p.m. in both districts, likely will be moved until late August, though they also said that the decision ultimately is up to V.I. Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes.

US Virgin Islands: Elections lags, fails to certify primary elections | Virgin Islands Daily News

Despite claims that the territory’s primary elections in both districts would be certified Tuesday, they were not. While both districts continued counting late into Tuesday night, V.I. Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes said that it was unlikely that the final results would be certified until today, or possibly later in the week. They also were not revealing numbers of all the walk-in, mail-in and provisional ballots at stake, nor were they revealing results, including those of several Senate candidates whose fates hang in the balance. The boards have until Aug. 17 to certify the elections. Last week, internal strife between St. Thomas-St. John Deputy Supervisor Nefredieza Barbel and district board Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr. marked the counting process in the St. Thomas-St. John office.