The U.S. District Court on Wednesday reaffirmed Basil Ottley Jr. right to be on the ballot as running-mate to Delegate Donna Christensen in this year’s gubernatorial race, according to the campaign.
V.I. voter Alan Haynes filed suit in August, challenging whether Ottley resided in the territory since 2009 as required, or only since 2010. (See Related Links)
According to the campaign, Judge Curtis Gomez first dismissed the petition filed by Haynes on the grounds that one average voter does not have the right to remove a candidate from the ballot – the same legal rationale used to dismiss those challenging President Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president.
Gomez also dismissed motions to join the case by candidates Kenneth Mapp and Soraya Diase Coffelt, saying that while they may have more standing to file a petition, it was too late as the election is well on the way and granting their motion would violate the rights of voters, according to the campaign. The court documents had not been posted on the federal court document server PACER as of 9 p.m. Wednesday.
"The candidates opposing the Christensen-Ottley team have lost in Superior Court, so they tried again in District Court, and the courts upheld the finding that Basil Ottley Jr. is a bona fide resident of the Virgin Islands," Ottley’s attorney, Joel Holt, said in the campaign statement.
Ottley said he was confident the courts would rule in his favor and he is looking forward to a resounding victory for the Christensen-Ottley team on Nov. 4th.
"I am thankful for the continued support of the voters of this territory. This has been a distraction and I look forward to the last days of this campaign."