As U.S. Virgin Islanders turn out in steady numbers during early voting for the Primary Election, Supervisor of Elections Caroline Fawkes said Thursday she was made aware of a concern with the St. John ExpressVote machines and took immediate action. However, she said there was no “malfunction” of any of the machines.
“Voting technicians in each district are on call, upon learning of the St. John concern, a voting technician was deployed to the Julius Sprauve Elementary School to assess the functionality of the ExpressVote machine, there were no findings of any malfunction,” Fawkes said in a press release.
Fawkes added that all early voting equipment was tested and certified for use on July 13 by the Board of Elections, which was open to the public and the media.
“Voters should be assured that the Elections System of the Virgin Islands operates with the highest level of integrity to ensure that every single vote cast is correctly counted every time,” said Fawkes.
Voters have two choices for casting their ballot – manually shading the oval beside the candidate of their choice on a paper ballot, or using the touch screen of the ExpressVote machine to fill their ballot in the same manner electronically.
With paper ballots, “if the voter shades outside the perimeter of the oval, the machine will not read the ballot,” the release stated. The same applies to the ExpressVote machines – “if the voter touches outside the perimeter of the oval or above/beneath the square, the results will be the same,” it said. Voters are encouraged to enlarge the screen, which provides a wider view of the contest and review of the voter selections, according to the release. Stylus pens are provided to assist in the process, it said.
The ExpressVote machine does not tabulate votes, the release stated. A voter makes their selection on the machine, reviews their ballot to verify each selection, and prints the ballot. There are multiple opportunities to review the ballot before printing, and even after printing, selections can be reviewed to ensure accuracy. If satisfied, voters then insert the Activation Ballot, since it is now voted on, into the DS200 tabulation machine.
Voters should not cast any ballot if they are not satisfied with the selections, and should notify Elections officials at the voting center and share any concerns, the release stated.
Further, as an extra measure of maintaining election integrity, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has an agent assigned in each district as well as a federal judge who is also assigned for every Virgin Islands election to address any issues that may arise, according to the release.
Fawkes said she is appreciative of the flow of voters since early voting commenced on Monday — 666 on St. Croix, 575 on St. Thomas, and 32 on St. John, for a total of 1,273 ballots cast as of Wednesday’s count, according to the release. Early voting ends Aug. 1 and the Primary Election will be held on Saturday, Aug. 6.
Early voting hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on St. Croix and St. Thomas and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on St. John. Locations in both districts are as follows:
• St. Croix Elections Office – Sunny Isles Shopping Center, Unit 26
• St. Joseph Church Hospitality Lounge on St. Croix
• Charlotte Amalie High School gymnasium on St. Thomas
• Tutu Park Mall (former Scotia Bank location) on St. Thomas
• Julius E. Sprauve Elementary School cafeteria on St. John
Fawkes reminds the public that absentee ballots are available as an alternative for anyone that is unable to early vote or to participate on Primary Election Day. Absentee ballot applications are available at the Elections System offices and at www.vivote.gov.
For additional information, contact the Office of the Supervisor of Elections at 340-773-1021 or 340-774-3107.