Elections Board Votes to Eliminate Territorial Party Candidates from 2024 Ballots

Spectators on St. Thomas watch the conclusion of Thursday’s Board of Elections meeting. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

At an emergency meeting on Thursday, the Board of Elections voted to eliminate the names of candidates running for territorial offices from the 2024 ballots. The vote came after a closed-door executive session in which Elections officials discussed the matter with lawyers from the Justice Department.

Officials said the change would take effect immediately; candidates whose names appear on ballots in the 2024 voting cycle would be contestants for public office.

The decision to eliminate the names of candidates running for party offices came after a Jan. 10 ruling in District Court when Chief District Judge Robert Molloy upheld a challenge by the V.I. Republican Party, declaring local laws establishing Territorial Committees unconstitutional. A detailed explanation of that and other sections of the Virgin Islands Code, Title 18, struck down by the court, was found in handouts prepared for the board by Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes.

Thursday’s meeting was held as a hybrid session — in person and by way of teleconference between St. Thomas and St. Croix. A number of political aspirants or their representatives took seats in the conference room at the Lockhart Gardens Elections Office along with board members Lydia Hendricks and Harriet Mercer. A number of them sought clarification for the board vote taken just before the meeting adjourned.

During the public portion of the meeting held before the executive session, members approved a request by the V.I. Democratic Party. Party members asked to borrow materials to help them conduct votes during an upcoming party caucus.