The St. Croix District Board of Elections in an emergency board meeting Thursday did nothing to change its action last week keeping former Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen off the ballot.
The board did pass a motion, over objections from member Adelbert Bryan, calling for a renewed request to V.I. Attorney General Claude Walker to investigate the issue concerning Hansen’s real name status.
Royette Russell represented the attorney general at the meeting. Walker had proposed to call in and make a statement; however, Bryan strenuously objected to the call-in statement when it was noted that Walker would not respond to questions from the board.
The only other motion passed during the two-hour meeting was a motion to keep the meeting in public session instead of going into executive session.
Lisa Harris-Moorhead argued that since the board was receiving legal advice it was proper to go into executive session.
Bryan argued that the legal advice was already public, saying, “There is nothing we are hearing that needs to be in executive session.”
Bryan referred to a letter Wednesday from Walker to the board that said the board acted improperly in removing Hansen’s name from the ballot.
Walker asserted that the challenge to Hansen by the Democratic Party through its chairwoman, Laurette Petersen, was filed improperly.
Board member Barbara Jackson McIntosh stated that she believed all the elements were in the Democratic Party’s challenge and that Walker’s objections were just about format. She expressed the idea that the Democratic Party should have time to rewrite its affidavit of challenge to conform to the format Walker requested.
As for questions of the legality of Hansen’s candidacy arising out of a name change request where it was found that she did not legally have the name she used to register to vote, the Attorney General’s Office had no answer.
Russell said she had been assigned to the case at 4 p.m. Wednesday and that she had not received or seen most of the pertinent documents.
Several board members mentioned that the issue was already in the courts.
Hansen, represented by attorney Lee Rohn, filed for injunctive relief. The filing demanded the board and Bryan “cease and desist from taking any actions to remove … Hansen from the ballot or to cancel or interfere with her voter registration.”
Rohn attended the meeting at the St. Croix Elections Office conference room for a short period, long enough for her to hear Bryan call the filing “frivolous” and full of “misrepresentations.”
Board Chairwoman Lilliana Belardo De O’Neal said that she will call another emergency meeting when she gets a report back from the Attorney General’s Office.
Russell said, “We will expedite this and get the report done as soon as possible.”
Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes said that her “drop dead date” for having all the names to appear on the November ballot was Sept. 16.
The conference room only has seats for about a dozen observers. All seats were filled and a couple people were left standing at times.