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HomeNewsArchivesDaniel’s Certification No Clearer After Contentious Board of Elections Meeting

Daniel’s Certification No Clearer After Contentious Board of Elections Meeting

Aug. 16, 2007 — How many board of elections members does it take to certify Harry Daniel as a Constitutional Convention delegate? No one knows.
During a confusing meeting held late Thursday afternoon, St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections members split the vote when it came to certifying Daniel, with two members voting in favor and two voting against.
Earlier in the meeting, however, a majority of members also voted to execute an order recently handed down by V.I. Superior Court Judge James S. Carroll III. During a hearing earlier this week, Carroll ruled that the board should re-certify the June 12 special election results based on the number of votes each candidate received. He also said that in re-certifying the results, the board could not place a cap on the number of district delegates coming from St. John.
District board vice-chair Alecia Wells explained that in voting to execute Carroll's order, board members, in essence, had decided to seat Daniel as a delegate. Chiming in over the telephone, Supervisor of Elections John Abramson concurred with Wells' opinion, saying that a vote to carry out the court order equates to a vote for re-certification.
Other board members disagreed, saying that that the initial vote was only the first step in a much longer process.
District board member Lorna A.C. Thomas subsequently put forth a motion to certify a new list of delegates, in which Daniel was included. Thomas, along with board member Claudette Georges, voted against the certification, while Wells and District Chairman Larry Boschulte voted in favor.
Emerging from the second vote, Thomas said that a majority of the board would have had to approve her motion for Daniel to be seated.
"Certification is an affirmative process," Thomas explained. "You sit down, take a vote and sign off on the individuals."
Wells, Boschulte and Abramson disagreed.
"If you said 'execute' during the first motion, you've already certified the election," Abramson said.
Seeking a legal opinion, Thomas asked the board’s counsel, attorney Terrlyn Smock, to weigh in on the matter. However, Smock recommended that the legal issue be addressed during an executive session.
Thomas' subsequent motion to move into executive session was shot down by Wells and Boschulte. Thomas argued that the issue would remain unresolved until the board met with its attorney.
Wells and Boschulte, again, disagreed.
"I'm going to sign to certify (the delegates) and I'm going to go home," Wells said.
"I agree," Boschulte added.
Only Wells and Boschulte signed off on the certification sheet. In the past, Boschulte and Abramson said that a majority of the board — or four members — would have to sign off on the results in order for them to be official.
The meeting was subsequently adjourned, leaving many in the audience — including Daniel himself — unsure of what the board had decided to do.
"They (the board) already voted to uphold the judge's order," Daniel said after the meeting. "So I don't know why they had to make a separate motion to certify the results. I don't know what they did in there. I'm confused."
The quick adjournment also left another issue up in the air — the de-certification of St. Thomas candidate Lisa Williams, who has already been certified by the board as a Constitutional Convention delegate.
Williams, however, will be knocked out of the process once Daniel is seated.
The issue was not brought up during Thursday's meeting.
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