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.
Under-voting contrasts with casting a blank ballot — or selecting no candidates in any race — which has been used by some voters to keep their voter registration active. The machines were quick to report a blank ballot, and to allow voters to submit them.
Elections system technicians for ESS, the company that maintains the machines, were on the phone within minutes, working to replace the software on the machines.