St. Croix Elections board takes steps to limit spoiled ballots

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ST. CROIX - The St. Croix District Board of Elections took action during its regular monthly meeting Wednesday to reduce the number of spoiled votes during elections.

A motion was made by Board Member Raymond Williams, who said as the voting machines are programed now, if a voter over-votes by selecting more than the allowed number of candidates in a race, the machine will notify the voter they have over-voted, and then give them the option to accept or correct the votes, which could result in a spoiled ballot.

Williams said the machines can be programed to not allow the over-vote, preventing spoiled ballots. The board members who were present at the meeting all voted in favor of making that recommendation.

Member Lilliana Belardo de O'Neal was absent at that first vote of the meeting.

The members also addressed the need to make some headings clearer and larger, requested color coding in some areas and expressed a need to separate English instructions completely from the Spanish instructions.

Belardo de O'Neal said the board must also take into consideration using words that are more familiar to Hispanics from this area of the Caribbean. She said words differ from Cuba to the Dominican Republic and even to Puerto Rico and some words being used on the ballot in Spanish are not familiar to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic natives, who make up the bulk of the Hispanic population in the territory.

The Board unanimously voted to consolidate voting locations by using Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School, Juanita Gardine Elementary School, Ricardo Richards Elementary School, St. Croix Educational Complex and Alexander Henderson Elementary School as the sites for the primary election.

Ricardo Richard will host voters who usually cast ballots at Ricardo Richards and Lew Muckle elementary schools

Alexander Henderson Elementary School will also host Claude O. Markoe and St. Gerards Hall voters.

Educational Complex will also host Alfredo Andrews, Charles Emanuel, Eulalie Rivera and Evelyn Williams voters.

Juanita Gardine Elementary School will also host JFK housing community and Elena Christian School voters.

Pearl B. Larsen will also host Florence Williams Library voters.

The board also voted on a motion to request the Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes to present them with a financial report including finances of the board from January 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014.

Williams, who made the motion, said it will help to give the members a realistic look as they move into preparing to plan the budget which will go before the Senate in August.

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