Published: August 31, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - Voting machine certification was delayed for a second day on St. Thomas when the ballots were pulled for a spelling error.
Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr. said Thursday that the name "Sprauve" was misspelled on the ballot. The revised ballots will be available today so the machines can be tested, he said.
The process of approving the Primary ballots in the St. Thomas-St. John District has been a thorny one.
On Monday, a candidate for the Board of Elections - Lucien Moolenaar II - was pulled from the ballot after it was confirmed he had a felony conviction.
He had been allowed to participate in the casting of lots last week, however, so after he was disqualified, all the other candidates' ballot numbers had to be adjusted, Abramson said.
Moolenaar, a former V.I. Health commissioner, was convicted in 2004 of conversion of government funds, grand larceny and making false statements to investigators. He initially was sentenced to probation only, but prosecutors appealed, and he was resentenced to 15 months in federal prison followed by three years supervised release.
Moolenaar was convicted of taking 63 overpayments totaling $102,467.85 in his government paychecks between 1995 and 2000.
Moolenaar was allowed to pull a ballot number last week because Abramson still was conducting due diligence on the candidate, Abramson said.
"There is no requirement in the V.I. Code for this due diligence," Abramson said.
He said he only reviews candidates when he personally knows someone's history or when a question has been raised about a candidate by a member of the public.
Abramson said the territory's election laws should be updated to have potential candidates file a criminal background check with their petitions.
"I was aware that Dr. Moolenaar had some issues when he worked at the Department of Health," Abramson said. "I received some documents from the court confirming his felony conviction, and I had to take immediate action."
Moolenaar was removed from the ballot Monday, he said.
"There were some other individuals as well that have had some issues on the ballot," Abramson said.
Two senatorial candidates, Franke Hoheb and Riise Richards also were reviewed.
In 1986, Hoheb was convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in a federal court - a felony. However, he was pardoned by Gov. Alexander Farrelly in 1998. Abramson said the law allows a pardoned candidate to run for office, despite a prior felony conviction.
When Richards was a civilian employee at the V.I. Police Department she was charged with embezzling money from the department and defrauding the government.
In 2006, a jury convicted Richards on one felony count of embezzlement and one misdemeanor count of petit larceny. V.I. Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall overturned Richard's embezzlement conviction, citing a lack of evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
With only the misdemeanor charge on her record, Richards can still run for office under the territory's election laws.
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.