I have offered testimony before the Rules and Judicial Committee of the legislature that our Party at this time does not have the resources and capability to finance and conduct a free, fair and open primary election with an opportunity for maximum participation of all Democrats who are also tax payers. Democracy functions best when there is full participation of all the people.
Historically and traditionally, the election system conducts and certifies the primary elections for both party public officials and party leaders with appropriate legislative funding not withstanding section 232 of the election code.
There is no specific section of the election code that clearly states the parties must conduct and fund the primary for party public officials and or party leaders. Section 232 of the Code as written is in conflict with many other pertinent aspects of the election law.
Furthermore, it doesn’t make sense to propose piecemeal election reform or change in the middle of a critical election year for implementation in the same year. This only adds to the confusion, divisive, unilateral and personal approach to solving this and many of our important and serious problems.
We have a good system that works democratically for all of us. Let’s not revert back to the old, corrupt, manipulated and handpicked system of selecting our public officials and political leaders by a limited and self-serving group of electorates. Some states have been funding party primaries. Many others are now moving toward this mainly because of the undemocratic, corrupt and manipulated manner in which some parties conduct this important process.
Finally, at this time, there are much more important issues confronting our people every day that we should be focusing on. Folks are suffering and can’t make ends meet. There is hopelessness, distrust, disillusionment and no relief in sight. They cannot live on a confused, populistic and illusive election change in the middle of this election year, and cannot pay their bills with such irrelevant measures.
Moreover, the 31st Legislature through Act #7758 (FY 2016 Executive Budget) has set aside funding for this year’s primary as it is accustomed to do historically and traditionally according to law.
In view of all the aforementioned facts and thoughts, the decision of the St. Croix Board is questionable and is apparently in conflict with current law as it pertains to the Title 18 of the V.I. Code.
Cecil R. Benjamin, State Chair of the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands
Democratic Party Responds to Political Parties Running Primary Elections
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