The Election System of the Virgin Islands announced that two of its employees will be designated certified elections/registration administrators, the highest professional achievement in the field of elections, at a ceremony in Boston on Friday.
Election assistant Blanca Maldonado and administrative assistant Sharon Benjamin have worked for the Election System for six and eight years respectively.
The pair completed a multi-year course of study conducted by The Election Center’s Professional Education Program as well as 12 courses in public administration administered by Auburn University. Topics covered include ethics, voter registration and election law, planning, communications and voter participation.
R. Doug Lewis, director of The Election Center, a national association of election professionals based in Houston, said the point of the certification is to professionalize the management of voter registration and elections administration to better promote and preserve public trust in the democratic process.
“These truly are the people who make democracy possible,” Lewis said. “Normally most Americans don’t even know the election officials exist in their community and that they work constantly to protect the democratic process for its citizens.”
According to Lewis, only 734 election officials in the country have completed CERA training.
“It is a measure of their dedication to making democracy work in the Virgin Islands and to exemplify the very best in their service to our citizens,” said John Abramson Jr., supervisor of elections.
“It takes an unusual commitment to have several people within an office pursue a demanding and challenging educational program. It also assures the Virgin Islands that the very best in management techniques, technologies and processes will be implemented.”