Polling places, staff top issues for St. Thomas board

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ST. THOMAS - The St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections met Tuesday to discuss the upcoming election.

Voter registration is in full swing, and the board soon will go out into the community to conduct voter registration drives. The board plans to visit the district's high schools to talk to the students who will be 18 at the time of the election and conduct voter registration drives in the schools.

At Tuesday's meeting, a concern was raised that the Election System's office in Lockhart Gardens has not been open to the public at its regularly scheduled times. Board members said Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes should reprimand staff who do not show up to work on time and cannot serve the public.

Fawkes, who has been in the job for six months, said she is evaluating staff and working to address problems.

Board member Wilma Marsh-Monsanto said the staff should be using time clocks so that the supervisor has a record of the staff's whereabouts.

Board chairman Arturo Watlington Jr. said the law dictates that employees must work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The board also discussed polling stations at Tuesday's meeting.

Watlington said he will reach out to the Tutu Park Mall to see if a section near the western entrance could be used as a replacement for the current polling place at the Curriculum Center.

"It's very dangerous," he said about the Curriculum Center poll. "We want to make it as easy as possible."

He said he did not expect any other consolidation of polls for the primary election; however, the poll sites may be reduced to just one classroom or fewer machines at each poll.

Specifically, Watlington said he expects the following sites to be reduced: Winston Raymo Center, Dober Elementary School, Sibilly Elementary School, and Muller Elementary School.

The final election schedule will be finalized shortly, Fawkes said.

She reported to the board that a public relations person will be hired to help the system as they move into the election season.

In the only action item of the meeting, the board voted to begin advertising for an administrative assistant to the St. Thomas-St. John District Board. Sharon Benjamin, who previously had served in that role, resigned in December.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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