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Elections Board Members Approve Revised Ballot

June 6, 2007 — Members of the St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections have approved a redesign of the ballot for the 5th Constitutional Convention Special Election scheduled coming up Tuesday.
Four board members were in attendance at the St. Thomas Elections Office as the voting-machine technician, Herbert Louis, displayed the new ballot. It now separates at-large candidates from the St. Thomas-St. John and St. Croix districts under two different columns.
The original ballot was questioned by board members because at-large delegate candidates from both districts were placed in one column. Members expressed concern that voters could get confused and vote for four candidates within one district.
Such voting would conflict with V.I. law, which states that a total of four at-large delegates must be chosen, two from the St. Thomas-St. John district and two from the St. Croix district.
Voters will choose a total of 13 delegates from each district. In the St. Thomas-St. John district, at least two chosen must be from St. John. The original ballot placed the St. John delegates in the same column as those from St. Thomas. Additionally, the St. John District delegate candidates will have their own column on the ballot.
In an emergency meeting held over the weekend, St. Thomas-St. John District board member Lorna Thomas challenged the old ballot. Thomas contended the ballot would not differentiate between at-large delegates from different districts.
“The voter can cast a ballot for up to four candidates in one district alone, which is not what should be happening,” Thomas said.
Testing on the ballots was supposed to take place June 2. But because of the redesign, it will commence today and run into Sunday night, Louis said.
Besides checking the effectiveness of the new ballot, the machines’ batteries and power supply will also be tested, Thomas said.
Special machines for the deaf and blind will also be tested, she said. As with general elections, two of these machines will be placed at each poll.
The initial appropriation of about $200,000 issued for this election went to funding the new ballot. Everything should be ready in time for the election this coming Tuesday, Thomas said.
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