Electoral commission chooses way to replace deceased member

Glenn Webster

Thirty days after the death of his colleague Glenn Webster, the members of the Board of Elections have chosen the method to replace him. An emergency meeting was held Thursday to comply with local law giving the council 30 days to fill such a vacancy.

The board voted to approach the candidate who opposed St. Croix member Glenn Webster in his final re-election bid and received the second-most votes. Webster, an elected board member since 2012 and a registered Republican, died on June 1 after a long illness

The person’s name was not disclosed at the meeting. Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes presented the council with a slate of candidates who challenged Webster for his seat in the last election cycle. Discussions about the names on this list took place during a virtual executive session behind closed doors.

Members then voted to contact the second-largest vote-collector by mail and ask if they were interested in filling the vacant seat. Eight members approved the motion, one abstained and three were absent.

Board chairman Raymond Williams did not release the name, but said the nominee appeared in writing, meaning he did not hold a formal ballot for the board race. elections in 2020.

“Whoever takes the seat will serve for two years to complete the term,” Williams said. “The goal is to get the letter out and then it stops the fence until that person comes back to us and says yes, no, maybe.”

For procedural reasons to the Virgin Islands electoral system, “maybe yes” is not an option. Electoral Law VI sets out the measures to be taken in the event of a vacancy in the electoral council. These measures require action to be taken within 30 days.

At Thursday’s emergency meeting, members of the board of elections also rejected a measure proposed by Alecia Wells to bar candidates for public office from participating in voter registration events. They also heard Fawkes talk about his upcoming testimony before the 34th Legislature on a bill that calls for broader use of mail-in voting as a permanent part of the voting system. Fawkes said she had just begun preparing for her testimony and had not fully reviewed the bill, sponsored by St. Thomas-St. John Senator Alma Francis-Heyliger.

“It was just a temporary measure that we instituted during Covid,” Williams said.

Council members also voted to hire a temporary administrator to help the electoral system organize the 2022 primary and general elections.

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