Republican Group to Move Forward with Saturday Convention and Lawsuit

p>Another lawsuit may soon be added to the at least three others pending against the Board of Elections: a new case filed by Republican Party members who are opposing the Joint Board’s recent decision not to certify the party’s process for submitting the names of candidates running for public office in the upcoming general election.

Members of the Joint Board met with the Republican State Chairman John Canegata on St. Croix late in May and, at the time, were asked to allow the party to submit its nominations – for offices including Senate, Board of Elections, Board of Education and other slots – after a convention scheduled for Saturday. At a meeting held on June 1, Joint Board members said the decision to not to support the request was based on a late filing.

“The convention that they are proposing to have, based on their submission to the board, is so they can send nominees for public office, which we voted to reject today,” St. Thomas-St. John District Board Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr. said after the June 1 meeting. “And that process was rejected based on the fact that it came after the common filing date of May 17.”

During a St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections meeting Friday, member Lawrence “Larry” Boschulte said the party is still moving ahead with its planned convention on Saturday, but should be filing a suit against the board soon after to challenge the Joint Board decision, which he said the Republicans were not notified of.

“It would be taking the board to court for not giving timely notification stating the deadline had passed,” Boschulte said. “A letter was sent out by the Elections System on May 7; on May 8, the party replied by email, that after the convention it would provide the names, and then the Joint Board voted not to accept any more nominees, but the supervisor never sent a letter saying that we were not accepting any names after the deadline.”

Speaking during the meeting Friday, Watlington said the Election System calendar “spells” out the common filing date.

“That’s the date,” he said. “And there are other Republican candidates that have filed for public offices.”

The rest of Friday’s meeting was less heated, as board members discussed:

–                 voter registration drives sponsored by Sen. Marvin Blyden. The board shot down a proposed date for Sunday but said they would be publicizing the others for the public to attend;

–                 the approval of the St. Thomas-St. John sample ballots, which the board said have been approved

–                 sharing Elections System employee Angel Bolques between the system’s St. Thomas and St. John offices

–                 and updating issues with one Express Vote machine on St. John, which board members said they would replace with a machine on St. Thomas if the software could not be fixed.

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