The Virgin Islands moved one step closer to its Fifth Constitutional Convention Monday, April 2, with the announcement that eligible delegate candidates can obtain petitions to appear on the ballot for the June 12 Special Election.
That announcement was the subject of a press conference conducted jointly by the University of the Virgin Islands, which is spearheading a public education project in support of the convention, and the Virgin Islands Board of Elections, which will oversee the election process.
“This is an important milestone for the territory,” said UVI President LaVerne Ragster. “It is a historical moment in the process by which we will impact the future of the Virgin Islands.”
In presenting his calendar of dates which will govern the election process, Elections Supervisor John Abramson noted the collaborative activities between his board and the university in making sure that the public is engaged and involved in the work of the convention.
Abramson presented a calendar of dates beginning with April 2, when the petitions became available at Elections offices throughout the territory and May 16, when all petitions must be returned to the Board of Elections.
“All residents should know that May 13 is the last date that they may register to vote in the special election,” Abramson said.
The elections supervisor also noted that in accordance with local law, Act 6688, which sets out the process for adopting a Virgin Islands Constitution, there will be no party symbols on the ballot for the Special Election.
Ragster outlined recent activities in the publication project, to include assemblies with local high school students and with classes at UVI, noting that the project is utilizing diverse approaches to bring the message to the Virgin Islands public.
“And we have utilized your suggestions, as well,” Ragster said, noting the Calypso Competition recently announced in the project as a means of using the Virgin Islands Carnival and its display of the arts and humanities to keep the convention in focus even in the midst of the festivities.
“Our calypsonians should note that April 20 is the deadline to submit their entries,” Ragster said. “Maybe we’ll have a road march, who knows.”
Senator Louis Hill, a sponsor of the Consti-tutional Convention legislation, attended the press conference and commended the university for its work.
“The word is definitely getting out, and even persons who were critical of delaying the process at first are now commending the project and noting how it has lifted the level of our public dialogue,” Hill said.
For further information about the university’s public education project in support of the U.S. Virgin Islands Fifth Constitutional Convention, please contact USVI Constitution Coordinator Tregenza Roach at UVI or at 693-1240. The project Web site is www.itsourfuture.vi. The Board of Elections Web site is www.vivote.gov.
Constitutional Convention Calendar of Events
• April 16 — First day to circulate nomination papers.
• May 9 — First day on which nomination petitions/papers may be filed, after noon.
• May 13 — Last day for voter registration. Note this is a Sunday.
• May 16 — Last day on which nomination petitions/papers may be filed by 5 p.m.
• May 21 — Casting of lots for position of names upon the official delegate ballot. Deadline for withdrawal of nominated candidates. First day of examination of voting machines and instruction in use of electronic voting machines. Appointment of election officers. Deadline for candidates for the same office with similar last names to request in writing that the occupation or residence be printed on his/her name on the ballot. Deadline for receipt in writing by the supervisor of elections of their shortened form on which candidates whose name contains more than 22 letters should be listed on the ballot. Deadline for filing substitute nomination certificates and papers.
• May 22 — Deadline for receipt by the supervisor of elections of applications for absentee ballots for the Special Election.
• May 23 — Notice of special election for the Constitutional Convention delegate election due.
• May 28 — Last day for examination of voting machines and instruction in use of electronic voting machines.
• June 2 — Testing of electronic voting machines and tabulating equipment, certification by Boards. Open to general public and media.
• June 12 — Day of the Special Election for delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
• June 18 – In case of a tie vote at the special election, the candidates receiving the tie vote shall cast lots before the supervisor of elections at noon. Registrars in the Election System of the Virgin Islands commence registration.
The V.I. Board of Elections St. John office is located at across from the Texaco, next to the Julius E. Sprauve School annex. For more information, call 776-6535 or fax 776-2391. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and registration hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.