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Judge Sends Daniel Election Appeal to V.I. Supreme Court

Aug. 21, 2007 — The ongoing legal battle between the St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections and Constitutional Convention candidate Harry Daniel is now in the hands of the V.I. Supreme Court after a ruling handed down Tuesday.
Responding quickly to a motion filed late Monday afternoon by elections' attorneys, V.I. Superior Court Judge James S. Carroll III said turning the case over would be in the public's best interest and would ensure that the issue of who will be seated as a Constitutional Convention delegate is "properly resolved."
In a ruling handed down last week, Carroll had ordered the board to re-certify the June 12 special-election results based on the number of votes each candidate received. In doing so, board members were also prohibited from setting a cap on the number of delegates coming from St. John.
Carroll's ruling was based on arguments made in court by Daniel's attorney, Clive Rivers. During recent hearings, Rivers argued that board of elections members violated local law when they approved certain changes to the special-election ballot and limited to two the number of delegates that could be elected from St. John.
When reading his decision, Carroll said the "plain language" of the Constitutional Convention statute requires a minimum of two delegates from St. John, but gives no maximum number.
During a meeting last Thursday, a majority of district board of elections members voted to execute Carroll's order. Though the board also split the vote on a motion to seat Daniel as delegate, Elections Supervisor John Abramson explained that any vote made to "execute" or carry out the judge's decision was, in essence, a vote toward re-certification. (See "Daniel’s Certification No Clearer After Contentious Board of Elections Meeting.")
The Elections System subsequently sent Daniel an official letter stating that he had been certified by the board as a Constitutional Convention delegate.
On Monday, the board reversed its decision, deciding instead to appeal Carroll's ruling and request that the judge put a hold on both the re-certification and the swearing in of Constitutional Convention delegates until the appeal is settled.
Carroll granted the stay on Tuesday, putting off any convention activities until 5 p.m. Wednesday so board of elections members can present their case before the Supreme Court.
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