Candidate files suit over electronic voting

Font size: [A] [A] [A]

The issue of paper ballots versus electronic voting machines, which has been the fodder of radio talk shows for months, has been brought into the courtroom.

Adelbert Bryan has filed two lawsuits against the government — one in U.S. District Court and one in the V.I. Superior Court — stating that his right to vote with a paper ballot has been violated.

Bryan currently is a Democratic candidate for the St. Croix Board of Elections.

The civil complaints filed in each court are virtually identical. The federal court already has heard the matter and dismissed the case, while the local court has scheduled a hearing for 9 a.m. Tuesday before Judge Julio Brady.  

In his complaint before the Superior Court, Bryan asked for a temporary restraining order, injunctive relief and a preliminary injunction to prevent Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr., the Joint Board of Elections and Gov. John deJongh Jr. from continuing the use of electronic voting machines. Bryan called the machines “obsolete,” “malfunctioning” and “corruptible.”

He also took issue with the Joint Board of Elections’ practice of cancelling voter registrations — stating that Elections does not provide adequate notice before pulling the voters from the rolls.

Bryan said in the complaint that several requests to St. Croix Elections Board Chairman Raymond Williams for voter registration drives were denied, yet the board held a voter registration event on HOVENSA property, “to register new voters mostly who and could have been recently white employees who are new persons brought in for employment at HOVENSA.”    

In his complaint, Bryan said the Joint Board met July 30 and decided that voters in the upcoming primary and general elections who have reasons for not using the electronic voting machines will have to use the provisional ballots. A news release was sent out Aug. 4 stating the board’s position. Bryan claims the board’s actions violate federal and local law.   

“The defendants arbitrarily, capriciously and discriminatorily agreed to influence, persuade, intimidate or coerce plaintiff and others to use a provisional ballot rather than the electronic voting machines, as adopted as one of the choice to register a voter’s choice, will or preference to manifest his/her vote pursuant to 18 V.I.C.,” he said.

Bryan also contends that voters have the legal choice of using paper ballots or electronic voting machines and cites the sections of the V.I. Code that refer to ballots and ballot boxes.

While Bryan’s complaint will be heard in Superior Court on Tuesday, an almost identical complaint already was heard in District Court. Judge Harvey Bartle III dismissed the case Aug. 31.

Bartle wrote in his opinion that there is no federal question in Bryan’s complaint, so it was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. He also responded to a number of Bryan’s arguments.

The court found that electronic voting machines are mandated in the V.I. Code, and any mention in the law of ballots and ballot boxes simply is leftover language from older legislation.

“At the hearing, plaintiff made allegations concerning failures of voting devices in other jurisdictions, allegations which are not relevant to this matter,” Bartle said.

He said Bryan’s allegations that Virgin Islands voting machines also had failed in the past were unsupported by facts.

Bryan objected to the Joint Board of Elections’ news release that states, “the provisional ballot process will be used for electors who have reasons for not utilizing the electronic voting machines.” Bartle said he understood the release to simply affirm that provisional ballots are available as required by law.

“It does not have any effect on a person such as plaintiff, who is recognized by election officials as eligible to vote at the upcoming elections,” Bartle said in his opinion.

Bartle called Bryan’s claims about violations of the Help America Vote Act “insubstantial and frivolous” and “completely devoid of merit.”  

Bryan’s charge that Elections improperly cancelled more than 6,000 voter registrations is not a valid complaint, the court said. Bartle said because Bryan’s registration was not cancelled, he does not have standing to bring the claim.

— Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 774-8772 ext. 311 or e-mail


Daily News E-Edition

Try our e-newspaper delivered to you every day

Tropical Homes 2015

Home and Business Improvement Advice and Service From Island Experts

St. Croix Holiday Gift Guide

Brought to you by the Virgin Island Daily News

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Brought to you by the Virgin Islands Daily news

Women Today 2014

Businesswomen of St. Croix and St. Thomas Who Contribute to the Success of the United States Virgin Islands

For locals only

Awesome deals and super offers exclusive to USVI and BVI residents

School Year 2014

Get ready for the 2014 School Year!

Election Guide 2014

All you need to know for the 2014 Election.

VI 2014 Graduates

The Virgin Islands Daily News presents the Class of 2014

Hurricane Preparedness

Get prepared with the 2014 Guide to Hurricane Preparedness.

Hurricane Map

Hurricane Tips and Tracking Guide for 2014

Best of VI St Croix 2014

A guide to the best products and services on the island


See what local businesses are the Best of the Virgin Islands!

Best of The Virgin Islands 2014

Check out who's been voted the best!

Island Weddings

Everything you need for your special island wedding!

Moms, Dads, Grads Gift Guide

Click here for great gift ideas

National Video

Mother Earth 2014

The Virgin Islands Daily News celebrates Earth Day with this special supplement

Community Spirit

Virgin Islands Volunteer & Service Guide


The Law & Justice Edition: Who's Who in the US Virgin Islands Legal Community

Island Menus

Restaurant & Menu Guide for St. Croix, St. John & St. Thomas

St. Thomas How To Guide

Your Go-To Guide On How To Complete A Multitude Of Projects on St. Thomas

St. Croix How To Guide

Your Go-To Guide On How To Complete A Multitude Of Projects on St. Croix

Island Trader

Good stuff, best buys, great fun

Crucian Trader

Celebrating St. Croix History, Culture and People

Island Action

Your complete guide to where to go and what to do this week in the Virgin Islands.