Primary election Q&A
Published: September 8, 2012
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
Question: When are the voting places open?
Answer: The voting places, also called "the polls" or the "polling places," are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Q: What if I have to go to work on Election Day?
A: Under V.I. law, employers must give full-time workers two hours off to vote - if the workers' eight-hour shift occurs during the 12 hours the polls are open.
Q: Is it too late to register to vote?
A: Yes. Voter registration closes 30 days before an election.
Q: What do I do first at the polling place?
A: When you arrive, an Elections official will direct you to a table where you sign in and the Elections officials check to see that you are a valid registered voter.
You may be asked to show your Voter ID card or, if you do not have that with you, some other form of photo ID showing your physical address.
Then you will be directed to a curtained booth containing the machine with the General Election ballot on the screen.
Q: How do I use the machine?
A: When you enter the booth and close the curtain, you will see "How To" instructions in English and Spanish.
Press the button beside the name of each candidate you pick for each office. A light will come on next to the names you choose, up to the allowed limit.
The machine will not accept votes for more than the allowed number. For example, you cannot vote for more than seven candidates for Senate in your district, even though you will see many more names than that on the ballot.
Q: What if I make a mistake and press a button beside a name I don't want?
A: Press that same button again, and that light will go off.
Q: Do I have to vote for a candidate for every position?
A: No. Many voters opt to leave some positions blank.
Q: Do I have to vote for seven candidates for senator?
A: No. You can vote for none, or just one, or however many you want - up to seven. Just remember this rule: You can vote for fewer than seven, but you cannot vote for more than seven.
Q: Is there a good reason to vote for fewer candidates than I am allowed to vote for?
A: There are mathematical reasons in favor of "bullet voting," which means voting for only one candidate (or for only a few) if you think your favorite might be in danger of losing. The advice from experts is this: Vote for the ones you want. If that adds up to seven, vote for seven. If it does not add up to seven, you don't have to vote for seven.
Q: How can I cast a "Write-In Vote" for someone whose name is not on the ballot?
A: Never write anything on the screen. If you do, elections officials will erase it, and it will not count as a vote. Instead, do this:
Press the "Write In - Escriba" button under the list of candidates in that race. It's a box big enough for you to write a name in, but remember, don't write in it, just press it.
When you press the Write-In button, another button up at the top edge of the machine will flash. Now press that button. A little window shade will slide up, and you will see a piece of paper on which you can write your candidate's name. When you are done, pull down the window shade. When you do that, your write-in vote will be cast.
Q: How do I make sure my ballot is counted?
A: Press the green "VOTE" button at the bottom right side of the screen. All the lights next to the names you chose will go out, indicating your vote has been registered.
Q. What if I need assistance while I'm voting?
A: If you inform the Elections officials that you need assistance you may ask someone of your choosing to assist you with the ballot and voting. An individual can assist only one voter. Anyone assisting an elector must take a sworn oath not to reveal any information they may obtain.
Q: What does the "NO VOTE" button mean?
A: This button is near the bottom of the screen. Voters who press this button do not want to vote for any of the candidates but want to show they have participated in the election so they will not be dropped from voter registration rolls for future elections.
Q: How can I vote if I can't see well?
A: The machines have headphones and braille handsets to help the visually impaired vote. Be sure to tell the Election officials that you want to use these.
Q. If I have missed voting in an election, am I still registered?
A: The Election System office can check the files for you. For St. Croix, the number is 773-1021, for St. Thomas-St. John the numbers are 774-3107.