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HomeNewsArchivesSt. Thomas-St. John Elections Board Denies Recount Petition

St. Thomas-St. John Elections Board Denies Recount Petition

Several candidates vying for spots in this year’s general election have challenged the recently certified results, but St. Thomas-St. John District Elections Board members voted Wednesday in an emergency meeting to deny their petition for a “public and physical” recount of the ballots.

The petition for St. Thomas-St. John was filed late last week and addressed to Joint Elections Board chairwoman Alecia Wells, St. Thomas-St. John District Board chairman Arturo Watlington Jr. and Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes on behalf of St. Thomas candidates Vince Danet, Diane Magras, Wilma Marsh-Monsanto, Bruce Flamon, Stephen “Smokey” Frett and Harriet Mercer.

The Virgin Islands Code gives candidates seven working days after an election has been certified to file notarized petitions disputing the results to the Board of Elections. The board then has three working days to consider the recount request and if they approve votes must be re-tabulated within 10 days, according to Title 18, sec. 629 of the V.I. Code. Monday is the deadline for a recount.

In the petition, the candidates allege that “substantive fraud, corruption, error and mistake” took place during the general election and ballot counting processes, and questioned everything from the equipment used to the “questionable” security within Election System offices in both districts.

“Continuous paper ballot tabulation was disrupted by disjointed and uneven vote counting between districts, overheating of the scanners, and opportunities for the creation of selective ballot counts, thus increasing the opportunity to substitute forged ballots, or remove ballots out of public view,” the petition said.

District Board members have fielded similar public complaints over the past few weeks, but have continued to say that the counting process was done in accordance with law and in the presence of either the media or public officials.

During Wednesday’s meeting, which took only about 20 minutes, Watlington reiterated the board’s position and called the candidates’ new petition “frivolous and baseless.” He added, however, that they do have the right to appeal the board’s decision in court.

Voting to deny the petition for a recount were St. Thomas-St. John Elections Board members Claudette Georges, Lydia Hendricks, Watlington and Wells.

On St. Croix, the Elections Board voted to accept three petitions for recounts.

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