Five losing candidates ask judge to reconsider decision
Published: January 14, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Five candidates seeking to overturn the territory's 2012 election results are now asking a federal judge to reconsider his ruling last week that denied their request to halt the swearing-in of newly elected officials.
In a motion to reconsider filed Friday in District Court, plaintiffs Lawrence Olive, Wilma Marsh-Monsanto, Norma Pickard-Samuel, Harriet Mercer and Diane Magras assert that District Judge Raymond Finch misconstrued the argument in their complaint.
"As set forth below, and with all due respect, the holdings of the Court are in manifest oversight, omissions, errors, and based on an argument not made by the Plaintiffs," the motion states.
Specifically, the plaintiffs argue Finch overlooked the part of their complaint that seeks decertification based on a violation of V.I. Act 7334.
The act, signed into law on Dec. 28, 2011, requires that only electronic voting machines certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission be used in the territory's elections. St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections member Alecia Wells has testified in this case that the machines used in the 2012 election cycle did not meet the certification standard.
The motion to reconsider also states Finch did not address the plaintiffs' request that advice by V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer regarding the machines be declared illegal. Frazer made statements that the territory could use the machines despite the lack of certification because they were the only machines the territory had and because they had been used in the past, according to the complaint and Wells' testimony.
Because the majority of the votes cast in the 2012 election cycle were cast on machines that did not satisfy the law, the votes "are in non-compliance to Act 7334, do not constitute a vote, and cannot be counted as a vote," the motion argues.
Furthermore, "the deliberate use of non-EAC certified machines in the 2012 elections would precipitate a fraudulent outcome for local and federal offices alike, and the results, by default, are null and void," the plaintiffs argue.
The motion also argues that the plaintiffs could not have challenged the validity of the election on these grounds any earlier than they did, as the defense has suggested they could have, because such a complaint would not make sense until after the election results were certified, which occurred in late November.
The motion for reconsideration was accompanied by a motion for a stay of proceedings to halt the enforcement of Finch's judgment.
No further responses or orders had been filed in the case as of Sunday afternoon.
- Contact reporter Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.