Virgin Islands boards of elections members have received harsh criticism. Representatives of the Republican Party have said elections are so poorly run that the U.S. Congress needs to intervene.
But anyone would be hard pressed to criticize the meticulousness the St. Croix District Board of Elections exhibited at an emergency meeting Friday concerning the legality of one vote.
Vice Chairwoman Barbara Jackson-McIntosh called the emergency board meeting to see if a provisional ballot could be counted.
The voter had requested an absentee ballot but said they had returned to St. Croix before receiving the absentee ballot, so the voter went to the required polling place and requested a provisional ballot for voting.
Board members Lisa Harris-Moorhead and Raymond J. Williams emphasized that they did not necessarily disbelieve the voter’s story, but they had to be certain that the absentee ballot did not come in before counting the provisional ballot.
If a voter tries to vote twice in the Virgin Islands, it is a misdemeanor with a $50 fine.
The board voted to accept the ballot but not count it until Aug. 16 when the vote count needs to be certified and when it can be shown that no absentee ballot came in from this particular voter.
The major criticism of the election boards concerns not how votes are counted but who is placed on the ballot.
A press release on Thursday under the letterhead of John Canegata, chairman of the Virgin Island Republican Party, quoted Canegata as saying, “Virgin Islanders – be they Republicans, Democrats or independents – have no confidence in the territorial government’s Joint Board of Elections to competently and impartially conduct any meaningful election, including for member of Congress.”
“In fact, the attorney general of the Virgin Islands refuses to represent the Joint Board of Elections because of election irregularities,” Canegata said.
The release goes on to say that the Joint Board of Elections is Democrat-controlled and has “disenfranchised thousands of registered voters and rigged the electoral system to guarantee current Delegate Stacey Plaskett faces no opponent on the ballot of November’s general election. Democratic partisans of Plaskett control the Joint Board of Elections,” the release said.
On top of that criticism, Gordon Ackley and the VIGOP filed a joint lawsuit Aug. 5 in federal District Court saying the Joint Board of Elections refused to conduct a Republican primary election.
The criticism could partly be the result of confusion in the local Republican Party.
The local Republican Party is holding a caucus vote for party officers on Saturday. Long-time party officer Holland Redfield had urged a boycott of the caucus saying that it has been rigged to favor certain candidates.