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Sunday, June 16, 2024
HomeCommentaryOp-Ed: You Need to Know: Positions for Elections in 2024

Op-Ed: You Need to Know: Positions for Elections in 2024

Anthony Mardenborough Jr. (Submitted photo)

Dear Editor,

As the Virgin Islands of the United States enters the 2024 Election Cycle, one must question if progress has been made and how we will measure it. Some of the issues the Virgin Islands continues to face includes rotational outages, alarming scores in Reading, Language Arts, and Mathematics. Along with high rates of gun violence in our homes, gentrification, homelessness, and definitely mental health. These issues concern me and should concern you as well and we have the opportunity to change that. The 2024 Election Cycle has five positions up for Election which are Senator, Board of Elections, Board of Education, Delegate to Congress and Delegate to the Sixth Constitutional Convention.

Virgin Islands Senators are elected to two year terms with no term limit and serve as the territory’s lawmakers. By being the territory’s sole lawmakers, they serve in a Unicameral Legislature. Unicameral means one lawmaking body, while bicameral has two lawmaking bodies. The Virgin Islands, Guam, and Nebraska are the only United States Jurisdictions to have Unicameral Legislatures. The Legislature of the Virgin Islands is a branch of government with semi autonomy in our governments and is made up of Fifteen Senators, seven from each District, with the Senator at Large being a Current Resident of St. John. We must remember and ensure that the Senators elected from the Island of St. Thomas also represents St. John as that is one district.

The Virgin Islands has two boards created in the Revised Organic Act, which are the Virgin Islands Board of Education and the Virgin Islands Board of Elections. Both Boards have all elected members, however they are different in what they are required to do and the number of members. The Board of Education has Four Members from each district and a At- Large who resides on the Island of St. John. While Elections has Fourteen members, with seven serving from each District. The Board of Education creates and sets policy for the Virgin Islands Department of Education. For example, Graduation Requirements, Uniform Policy, Licensure for Educational Professional and more. The Board of Elections governs the election districts of the Virgin Islands. The Jurisdictions of this Board includes Registration of Electors, Issues Certificates of Appointment, Investigations of Election Fraud, make recommendations to the Legislature on amending laws, and other respects.

Lastly, Members of both boards are elected to four year terms, with elections every two years. This means, that one- third of the body will face election every cycle.

As I close, we have two more positions that we determine who serves in those positions in November, Delegate to Congress and Delegates to the Sixth Constitutional Convention. The Delegate to Congress is a two year, no term limit elected representative for the Virgin Islands in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the United States Congress. This individual has to be elected by both Districts and must promote and push the agenda of the Virgin Islands in Congress. This individual serves as the Territory’s Lobbyist. The Delegates to the Sixth Constitutional Convention is a new position on the ballot this year, Fifteen Individuals will be elected to serve at this Constitution, which will frame our existence as a Territory. Seven will be elected from each District, with the at-large being a resident of St. John.

Overall, these positions are important and not just a check on a ballot. Please vet all of the candidates running for these positions and vote for the right choices so these issues can change and make our Virgin Islands competitive in the World.

Anthony Mardenborough Jr. is a secondary education teacher, nonprofit executive director, and aspirant for the Virgin Islands Board of Elections.

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