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Board of Elections Prepares for New Year

Jan. 14, 2009 — The St. Croix District Board of Elections got down to work Wednesday, looking at what they're going to address in the coming year, including how to work with a legislative mandate to include candidates' photographs on ballots.
The board's organizational meeting Wednesday morning touched on a wide variety of subjects, including electing officers and how to promote voting among young people.
A law passed by the Senate four years ago requires that candidates' photos appear on the ballot next to their names. The problem, according to Supervisor of Elections John Abramson, is that the requirement will cost about $150,000 to implement and there are other technical problems. The pictures would be extremely small — no more than thumbnails. Candidates would have to meet technical specifications, yet to be determined, in submitting photos. If the candidates are unhappy with the way the images reproduce it is not clear what recourse, if any, they would have, or what the Board of Elections might have to do to rectify it.
Board member Lisa Moorhead suggested an easier and more cost-effective method might be to post all candidates' photos and names inside the polling places. To do so, the law would need to be amended.
There may be other changes the board wants to suggest to the Senate, but the members were not ready to enumerate them at Wednesday's meeting. But considering such changes for an election reform page to submit to the Senate is something the board will consider such a package during the next few months.
Moorhead also suggested that board members should spend time on a regular basis visiting St. Croix schools to talk about democracy and the electoral process. Other board members agreed to continue to build the public image of the board and the electoral process, and said they will continue looking at ways to do that during the coming years.
Raymond J. Williams was re-elected to the post of chairman of the board.
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