With results for the 2012 V.I. general election waiting for thousands of paper ballots to be counted, V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer convened a panel of senior V.I. Department of Justice attorneys and a special investigator to look into voter complaints, according to Government House.
Due to legislation passed last year allowing any voter to opt for a paper ballot, the system receive hundreds of paper ballots on St. Thomas and around 2,700 paper ballots on St. Croix this year, a situation the system has not dealt with since the V.I. Legislature mandated electronic voting machines in 1984. The territory’s current machines date from that time. New machines are in the process of being purchased, pursuant to a recent mandate from the V.I. Legislature, but could not be procured before this election cycle due to a lack of funding and insufficient time, according to the Election System.
Writing to the Joint Boards of Elections, Frazer said his action came on the heels of complaints from registered voters in both districts. He said the “purpose of the investigation is intended to put to rest all the unfounded allegations of fraud, corruptions and whatever other charges have been levied.”
He said the probe is not intended to be a criminal investigation but an “opportunity for us to let the community know that we have heard their concerns and have taken them seriously.”
Throughout the 2012 election cycle, both his office and that of the U.S. Attorney have received many complaints from voters, Frazer said.
“If we do not take some steps to seriously look into complaints and charges by the media, the criticism of the Election System will continue,” he said.
The panel consists of Deputy Attorney General Bruce Marshack, Solicitor General Bernard Van Sluytman, Chief Deputy Attorney General Wayne Anderson, Chief of the Civil Division Carol Thomas Jacobs and Director of the DOJ Special Investigations Division James H. Mc Call.
Frazer said he expects a formal report of the panel’s findings by the end of the month.