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: Test data causes glitch in early vote counts | Virgin Islands Daily News

A former Elections official has raised questions about what appear to be discrepancies in unofficial vote counts that the V.I. Elections System posted at different times on Saturday evening as the results from the primary election were rolling in. However, a spokeswoman from the company that sold the V.I. Elections System the DS200 vote tabulating machines said there is a simple explanation for what occurred – and that the final unofficial tallies posted in the system from Saturday’s count are the correct ones. “The results are absolutely correct at this time,” said Kathy Rogers, a spokeswoman for Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software. Former V.I. Elections System Supervisor John Abramson Jr. raised the issue in a letter Monday to St. Croix Board of Elections Chairman Adelbert Bryan. Abramson seeks an explanation of “discrepancies,” in which a few candidates appear to lose votes that had already been counted. Bryan said Monday afternoon that he had not yet seen Abramson’s letter.

US Virgin Islands: 5 losing candidates ask judge to stop swearing-in | Virgin Islands Daily News

Five unsuccessful candidates from the 2012 election are asking a federal judge to halt the swearing-in of the territory’s newest elected officials, claiming irregularities in the election cycle prevented a fair vote. In an amended complaint filed Dec. 21, Senatorial candidate Lawrence Olive, Senate At-large candidate Wilma Marsh-Monsanto, Delegate to Congress candidate Norma Pickard-Samuel and Board of Elections candidates Harriet Mercer and Diane Magras are seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the January swearing-in ceremony.

US Virgin Islands: Losing candidates send complaints blasting Elections System | Virgin Islands Daily News

Almost a month has passed since the polls closed on Election Day, but the fight is not over for a handful of unsuccessful candidates who sent letters on Monday blasting V.I. elections officials for the conduct of the 2012 election and demanding a recount or a new election. “These are just some of the problems, and nobody seems to want to step up to the plate to bring them forward, but I’m going to do it because I am a citizen of the Virgin Islands and a voter and a candidate, and I observed this first-hand,” said Lawrence Olive, a candidate for the 30th Legislature who was one of five candidates who filed complaints on Monday. “Now I know what we’re dealing with in the Elections System. Reform must come. Changes must be brought forward. If an investigation needs to take place, if people have to go to jail, then so be it. That is the only way we’re going to clean up the corruption.”

US Virgin Islands: Federal audit of Elections System delayed by John Abramson’s absence | Virgin Islands Daily News

A federal audit of the V.I. Elections System scheduled to begin last week is being delayed because of the absence of V.I. Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr. Curtis Crider, the inspector general for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, said Thursday that two factors contributed to the delay. “One, we wanted to make sure it was after the election was over,” Crider said.

US Virgin Islands: Outcome unchanged on St. Croix after board finishes counting votes | Virgin Islands Daily News

Almost two weeks after the General Election, the St. Croix Board of Elections on Monday morning wrapped up counting all elements of the vote, an official said. The final tallying of votes did not change the outcome of the election or displace any of the winners, which have held their leads since electronic votes were totaled on the evening of Nov. 6, just after the polls closed for the General Election.

US Virgin Islands: Department of Justice and Virgin Islands sign consent decree to fix absentee ballot procedures | Virgin Islands Daily News

The U.S. Department of Justice and the V.I. government have signed a consent decree aimed at ensuring the territory allows its absent military members and voters living overseas to fully participate in the upcoming primary and general elections. The consent decree, filed in federal court on St. Thomas on Friday, settles a lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Justice filed the same day, alleging that the territory has violated the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, as amended by the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, by failing to transmit absentee ballots to overseas and military voters in a timely manner. The territory already has signed the consent decree, thereby agreeing to its mandates. However, a judge must sign off on the agreement for it to be valid. A hearing on the matter is scheduled in U.S. District Court before Judge Curtis Gomez this morning.

US Virgin Islands: Judge hears arguments in Virgin Islands recall case | Virgin Islands Daily News

District Judge Wilma Lewis heard oral arguments Friday in the case pitting the St. Croix Board of Elections against a group of residents who launched a recall petition against most of the board members. The V.I. Action Group, which initially sought to recall six of seven board members, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court contesting the board’s interpretation of the Revised Organic Act of 1954 regarding signature thresholds for recall petitions and the board’s inaction to schedule a recall election. In April, after checking signatures, Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr. accepted four of the six recall petitions as valid. Abramson initially was named in the suit, but V.I. Action Group has since filed court papers dismissing him from the suit.

US Virgin Islands: Elections Board OKs hiring of attorney for court fight against Virgin Islands Action Group | Virgin Islands Daily News

The St. Croix Board of Elections met briefly Wednesday morning in a specially called session to authorize the hiring of a private attorney to represent them in the case where they are being sued by the Virgin Islands Action Group in federal court. The board passed a resolution to transfer just more than $8,000 from its Travel Fund into its Professional Services Fund that already had just more than $4,000. The board then authorized the use of the $12,000 now in the Professional Services Fund to be used to retain legal counsel to represent them in the case and to pay all legal service charges, court costs and fees. Board chairman Rupert Ross Jr. said the body agreed to retain the law firm of McChain, Nissman and Miller. He said he did not know how much they will have to spend during the course of the litigation, because it depends on how long it takes to resolve the matter.

US Virgin Islands: Senate committee endorses paper ballots | Virgin Islands Daily News

The Senate Government Operations, Energy and Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted to forward three elections bills to the Rules Committee and tabled two others. The bills that moved out of committee were: a bill allowing paper ballots under the elections laws of the territory, a bill pushing up the date for primary elections so the territory would be in compliance with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, and a bill changing the way senators are elected to a combination of island seats and at-large seats. Senators said they plan to amend all of the forwarded bills while they are in the Rules Committee. The bill about paper ballots, sponsored by Sen. Neville James and co-sponsored by Sen. Celestino White Sr., would allow voters to choose whether they wanted to vote by machine or by paper ballot. As written, it also requires that all paper ballots be counted after the closing of the polls, at the same time that electronic ballots are counted on election night.

US Virgin Islands: Judge to hear US Virgin Islands case for right to vote in federal elections | Virgin Islands Daily News

A case pursuing the right to vote and vie for federal office for territorial residents earned a space in the V.I. Superior Court’s June docket. Superior Court Judge Adam Christian in late February ordered the case will go to court with tentative pre-trial dates in April and June. “The court will set dates for the final pre-trial conference, jury selection and trial via a separate order,” Christian wrote. Local attorney Russell Pate last year filed the initial complaint in both districts of local and federal Virgin Islands courts suing several agencies for federal voting rights. Having a court date in Superior Court marks the first formal step toward bringing a right to vote case to jury trial in the territorial courts, Pate said.

US Virgin Islands: Residents seek removal of Elections Board head | Virgin Islands Daily News

A meeting of the St. Croix Board of Elections on Thursday ended with a lot of people shouting angrily at one another. It was not an uncommon ending for a meeting of the board. The board’s meetings this year have been fueled with personality clashes among board members, along with a heavy presence of vocal and at times aggressive residents – whose dissatisfaction boils over at most meetings.

Now that dissatisfaction is being focused with a petition to recall Rupert Ross Jr. Ross serves as both the chairman of the St. Croix Board of Elections and the V.I. Joint Board of Elections.

The residents, represented by Mary Moorhead, filed the petition Thursday morning with V.I. Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr. “We’re here as a group of concerned citizens,” Moorhead said outside the Elections Office with a dozen or so people behind her. “We are concerned about a plethora of wrongdoings here in the Virgin Islands.”

US Virgin Islands: Abramson’s tenure extended in 10-3 vote | Virgin Islands Daily News

In a frenzied but semi-functional reconvened meeting of the V.I. Joint Board of Elections on Wednesday, the board reappointed the current supervisor of elections and took some long-awaited, though slightly retroactive, steps toward election reform. The meeting, which was recessed while in executive session on July 12, reconvened about 9:45 a.m., still in executive session for the purpose of discussing the position of supervisor of the V.I. Election System.

Within an hour, the board re-opened to the public, and St. Croix member Dodson James reported that they had discussed the findings of the Screening Committee, which recommended two names: current Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr. and James Weber III.