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AG’s Legal Opinion: Board of Elections Must ‘Revisit’ Every Decision Since Aug. 1, 2017

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CHRISTIANSTED — Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Earl Walker issued a binding legal opinion Monday after Board of Elections Minority Leader Jevon O.A. Williams requested an emergency legal opinion ahead of its first meeting this morning.

Walker’s legal opinion clarified the new, territory-wide Board of Elections must “revisit all decisions” in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling that actions taken by the now-defunct district and joint elections boards after August 1, 2017, are “null and void.”

“The newly-formed single Board of Elections must revisit each item that was decided upon by the district boards subsequent to August 1, 2017,” Walker wrote in his legal opinion. “The board may vote against past actions, it may ratify past actions, but it must affirmatively revisit each and every decision that was made.”

The Minority Caucus said that it will strictly follow Walker’s legal opinion at today’s Board of Elections meeting.

“I am grateful for Attorney General Walker’s legal opinion as it affirms the need for all members of the Board of Elections to come together, roll up their sleeves and get to work on the people’s business,” said Williams, R-St. Croix. “Members must elect board officers, decide all previous business handled by the defunct boards, and work to regain the public trust that is essential when you are charged with overseeing and protecting the citizenry’s most important
right — the right to vote.”

Walker’s legal opinion is binding and carries the weight of law.

The Minority Caucus consists of Williams, Board of Elections member Robert Max Schanfarber, R-St. Thomas, and Board of Elections member Harriet Mercer, R-St. Thomas.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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