Judge dismisses ballot complaint
Published: September 9, 2010
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ST. CROIX — The Primary Election will take place as scheduled Saturday as result of Superior Court Judge Julio Brady’s decision to dismiss a complaint filed against the V.I. Board of Elections by a candidate for that same board.
In his decision, Brady described Adelbert Bryan’s complaint as unfounded and largely comprising “expressions of personally held opinions on the election system.”
Bryan filed his complaint Aug. 17 and represented himself in court. Brady heard the case Tuesday and wrote an expedited decision, which he issued early Wednesday because Primary Election Day is Sept. 11.
Brady addressed only two main issues in Bryan’s complaint: the request for an injunction and an order to permit Bryan and any other like-minded person who did not want to use a voting machine to be allowed to use “an official or unofficial paper ballot.”
Brady denied Bryan’s requests and dismissed the case in favor of the defendants: John Abramson Jr., the supervisor of the V.I. Election System, the Joint Board of Elections and the V.I. government.
“Based on the lack of substantive justification presented by the Plaintiff in support of his request for injunctive relief, coupled with the realistic result of disrupting the fundamental democratic process of conducting a primary election on September 11 of this year in our Territory, the Court is convinced that denial of the injunction sought by the Plaintiff is the only legally sound, fair and equitable result in this case,” Brady concluded.
Bryan’s complaint contests the legality of the Board of Elections’ decision July 30 to have voters who are not using the electronic voting machines use provisional ballots instead. That decision, Bryan claimed, was a violation of the Help America Vote Act and the V.I. Code.
Bryan currently is a Democratic candidate running for the Board of Elections on St. Croix.
Assistant Attorney General Carol Thomas-Jacobs argued that Bryan had no standing in the court because he had no right to bring up the civil complaint under the Help America Vote Act — a right held “explicitly” only by the Attorney General of the United States.
Thomas-Jacobs also disputed Bryan’s standing as an injured party, arguing that his right to vote has not been put in peril or denied him because of the board’s decisions.
One of Bryan’s claims was that the Board of Elections did not adequately inform and attempt to re-register about 6,000 voters after their names were purged from the voting lists. The Election System is required to purge names that are inactive for two consecutive Primary elections.
Bryan’s name was not purged.
The information he provided does not “aid in proving that he has any standing to maintain this action since he has unequivocally confirmed that he is eligible to vote in both upcoming elections,” Brady’s ruling said.
Bryan also failed to meet his burden of proof, Brady said.
“Even a cursory examination of the written submissions and oral arguments presented by the Plaintiff demonstrates a startling absence of proof of facts,” Brady wrote. “Rather, his presentation can best be described as expressions of personally held opinions on the election system.”
Bryan submitted only three documents to support his complaint: a copy of a provisional ballot, an Aug. 4 press release and copies of his voter registration card.
“Needless to say, none of these documents in any way substantiate the multiplicitous complaints he leveled at the election system,” Brady said.