The next election may be a year away, but the St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections still spent Friday looking at polling sites, dealing with new voting machines and handling complaints that have been pending since the last election.
The only item the board voted on during their meeting on St. Thomas was to close two polling sites, Leonard Dober and Ulla Muller elementary schools, during the upcoming election. Board members said several sites, including Dober, are still not in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations and need to be brought up to date.
The board also received a demonstration of new ExpressVote software that will be available at the polls during the upcoming election. The new machine is expected to not only save money on paper costs but also should reduce voting errors, according to officials from the supplier Election Systems and Software (ES&S).
The ExpressVote has a touchscreen computer system that voters insert a blank ballot into before making selections and then prints barcodes on the ballot that can be read by an electronic tabulator. The territory will continue to use the DS200 tabulators used in the 2014 election, which are also made by ES&S.
The board is rolling the machines out to the public in workshops held on all three islands. While one demonstration was held at Tutu Park Mall on St. Thomas this week, board members said they will also be traveling to St. John Friday night for another demonstration over the weekend.
Reducing errors with the machines will help the Elections System safeguard against the same kind of complaints it has been fielding since the 2014 general election. At Friday’s meeting, board members talked about voter requests for a public records review and for minutes of meetings held last October, along with board member stipends and invoice records.