While voting machine certification on St. Thomas and St. John hit a last-minute snag with a programming error and ballot alignment problem, the problems were fixed and the St. Thomas/St. John Board of Elections approved the certification Monday evening, Chairwoman Alecia Wells and board member Lawrence Boschulte said Monday evening.
"The machines are certified as of tonight," Wells said via text message Monday evening.
When the machines were being tested, St. Croix machines operated perfectly, but the St. Thomas/St. John machines would not accept the St. John candidate for the St. Thomas/St. John Board of Elections, and the large printed paper ballot with all the candidates’ names "would not align properly on the machine," Boschulte said.
The board called in a local programmer, who consulted with the equipment manufacturer to reprogram the machines to correct the issue, and certification began anew Monday afternoon, he said. Wells tasked member Harry Daniel with overseeing the programming and second certification process, and the board voted to approve her decision Monday evening, giving Daniel that authority, Boschulte and Wells both said.
The board named Daniel to act for the Board regarding certification, Wells said.
"I feel 100 percent comfortable with Mr. Daniel’s judgment," Boschulte said, adding that he would have preferred if the board had initially approved the programmers who do the testing. The programmer was hired by the Office of the Supervisor of Elections, under Supervisor of Elections John Abramson, Boschulte said, which concerned him because the board is tasked with certifying the machines. Boschulte said he felt that having another entity hiring the programmer at least partially took matters out of the board’s hands.
"I still have a problem with how the programmer was procured, but if Mr. Daniel is comfortable with how the machines perform, I support him absolutely," Boschulte said.