2023 will be a year to celebrate for those who help the people of the Virgin Islands cast election ballots. Top officials at the Elections System of the Virgin Islands are making plans to mark Feb. 20 as the 60th year they and those before them have made the voting process possible.
Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes says events marking the occasion are
scheduled for St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. Fawkes says planners have
focused on creating a mix of events to engage the public and get-togethers for election workers, poll judges, and staff members — past and present.
“We’re trying to encompass all of our populace,” Fawkes said.
Celebrations scheduled from Feb. 17 through Feb. 25 are being organized around the theme: “Thriving with Integrity, Elections System Celebrates Sixty.”
The Elections System of the Virgin Islands was enacted on Feb. 20, 1963, by Act No. 936 by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands. Henrita Todman was appointed to serve as elections supervisor. To honor her service, anniversary organizers say they’ll hold a Diamond Jubilee Gala at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas on Feb. 25.
Daytime events on the anniversary include an official ceremony at Government House on St. Croix from 10 a.m. to noon.
St. Croix also hosts the first of the week’s events at the Elections System office at Sunny Isle Shopping Center on Feb. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Throughout the week, high school and college students are invited to submit essays as part of a contest. The essay theme is “One Person, One Vote.”
Contest winners will receive a $200 gift card, Fawkes said. Students are also invited to join a game of Election Trivia Pursuit on Friday, Feb. 24, at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas. Later that day, organizers invite the public to join a Jubilee Walk for Progress, starting at 4:30 p.m.
St. John joins the celebration on Feb. 23, with a visit to the historic ruins at Neptune’s Lookout in Susannaberg from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A forum showcasing V.I. history is also planned that week, Feb. 21 on St. Croix at UVI at the tech park on the Albert Sheen campus.
Those who attend The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas gala on Feb. 25 will also have a chance to meet the head of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Thomas Hicks was appointed by then-U.S. President Barack Obama in 2014. He frequently speaks at elections-related conferences nationwide.
Fawkes said the staff and organizers marking the 60th year of public elections in the Virgin Islands are eager to mark the occasion and honor those who have helped the territory’s people vote.
“The Elections System of the Virgin Islands is eager, enthusiastic, and ready to sparkle as we celebrate this major milestone,” she said.
Editor’s Note: The Elections System of the Virgin Islands will hold its Diamond Jubilee Gala at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas on Feb. 25, not Feb. 20, as was stated in a previous version of this story.