2 members storm out of St. Croix Elections Board meeting

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ST. CROIX - With fewer than 90 days until the primary election, the St. Croix Board of Elections met in its monthly meeting Wednesday but could not take action on any of its agenda items because it quickly lost a quorum stemming from a difference of opinion among three of the five members present.

Present at the meeting were Chairman Adelbert Bryan, Rupert Ross Jr., Lisa Harris-Moorhead, Glenn Webster and Roland Moolenaar. Raymond Williams and Lilliana Belardo de O'Neal were excused.

At the February meeting, the membership had voted to permanently place the supervisor's report at the top of the agenda because she usually has information in her report that is relevant to discussions at other points of the agenda. Bryan was against the motion but was outvoted.

On Wednesday, Harris-Moorhead asked why the supervisor's report was again at the bottom of the agenda, and Bryan said it was because it had not been submitted at least 48 hours before the meeting as had been agreed upon last month.

He said additionally that as the chairman of the board, he has the authority to determine how the agenda will be set and that he will not entertain placing the report higher on the agenda for no practical reason.

Harris-Moorhead and Ross expressed their displeasure and said the chairman was out of order in his actions.

"The board made a decision relative to this, and one person can not decide differently," Ross said.

Bryan responded by saying that they had the option to remove him as chairman.

"If you don't like the decision of the chair, then you can remove the chair and put in whoever you want," he said.

"I have no such interest to do that," Ross replied.

Harris-Moorhead, without any further discussion, gathered her belongings and left the meeting.

Ross and Bryan continued the argument until Ross also left the meeting, breaking the quorum and the board's ability to take action on any issues.

Bryan continued the meeting with the two other members and about 10 members of the community in attendance.

The remaining board members discussed the board's past efforts to conduct voter registration, voting machine demonstrations and polling site evaluations as they continue preparations toward the height of the upcoming election season. The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 2.

In her report that came at the end of the meeting, Supervisor of Elections Caroline Fawkes discussed the system's plans that are falling into place to expand the office, but she said it will not be before the upcoming elections and perhaps not before next year.

Fawkes said since the campaign season opened last month, 62 people have picked up packages that include applications, police record checks, petitions and other documentation that must be returned by 6 p.m. May 13. She said five packages were returned to-date on St. Croix and three on St. Thomas.

Bryan said he is concerned that some individuals may be into playing games or trying to test the inner workings of the system and its staff, saying that one person had picked up packages to run for two different offices with two different party affiliations.

According to the Election System's log of individuals who picked up packages, former Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr. picked up and signed as a candidate running for senator as a Democrat, but he also is logged as the person picked up and signed for a package running for the State Chairman of the Republican Party.

"I don't know what type of games people are playing around here, but I know Mr. Abramson is currently a registered Democrat, and no one person can be a part of two parties," Bryan said.

A special board meeting has been scheduled for May 14, but the agenda has not yet been provided.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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