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Systems and Procedures - U.S. Virgin Islands


The Election System of the U.S. Virgin Islands

The Election System of the Virgin Islands (ESVI) is committed to its mission, to provide American citizens, age 18 and over, with the mechanism to exercise their right to vote as stipulated in the United States Constitution.  This election agency serves as the gatekeeper of Democracy.  The thrust of this mission calls on the ESVI to promote and protect the election process, improve public trust and confidence and conduct free and fair elections. With the advent of the Election Assistance Commission, we have made technological progress, and have ensured that the Virgin Islands continue to participate and remain connected to national issues that affect our territory.

Our strategic goal is to provide greater access to the electoral process.  This goal supports national and local mandates for improved voting standards. ESVI’s authority is vested in Title 18 of the Virgin Islands Code, which established the following organizational structure:  Office of the Supervisor of Elections, St. Croix District Board of Elections, St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections and Joint Boards of Elections.

Each District Board consists of seven members elected from the respective districts for a four-year term. The St. Thomas- St. John district must include two members who reside on the island of St. John. The Office of the Supervisor of Elections is charged with the administration of the voter registration process, nomination process and financial disclosure reporting. This office seeks to improve the voting experience and reduce the error rate at polling places by continuing the conversion of manual registers to electronic polling books, and broadening the scope of poll worker training.

The Office of the Supervisor services approximately 60,000 registered voters annually. Over the last two year period some 6,049 individuals were registered in the territory. The make of the registered voters is quite diverse and varied which is demonstrated by broad spectrum of age grouping:

18 – 25 years of age – 7,032 or 17 % of the voting population;
30 – 50 years of age – 20,374 or 39.6 % of the voting population;
60 year of age and above – 21,163 or 41 % of the voting population

(a)  Every person claiming the right to be registered as an elector shall appear in person at the office of the Board, or at such other place or places as the Board shall have designated, shall present valid proof of United States citizenship and shall answer the questions required to be asked in accordance with this chapter. A vo ter may deliver to the Board of Elections or the registrar at the time of his registration a written statement of religious scruples against voting at a polling place located in premises used for religious purposes. In the event the polling place for any such voter's election district shall be located in premises used for religious purposes, the Board of Elections shall be authorized to reassign said voter to another polling place.

(b)  He shall first be sworn or affirmed to the truth of the statements which he is about to make, and informed that any willful false statement will constitute perjury and will be punishable as such. He then shall be asked to state the facts required herein, and his answers, together with other information herein required, shall be recorded in his presence by a registrar if the registration is made pursuant to subsection (a) of section 94 of this title, or by a board member or the clerk in the presence of a board member if the registration is made pursuant to subsection (b) of section 94 of this title, in permanent writing or typewriting, in duplicate in the proper spaces on the registration cards as follows:

c)  (1)  The surname of the applicant; (2) his Christian name or names; (3) his occupation; (4) the street or road and number, if any, of his residence; (5) if his residence is a portion only of the house, the location or number of the room or rooms, apartment, flat or floor which he occupies; (6) the date his residence in the district began; (7) the sex of the applicant; (8) his height, in feet and inches; (9) the color of his hair; (10) the color of his eyes; (11) the date of his birth; (12) the state or territory of the United States, or foreign country, where he was born; (13) the date when, place where, and the court by which, naturalized, and number of the naturalization certificate, or that he acquired citizenship by treaty or Act of Congress; (14) if not naturalized personally, the name of father, mother, or husband through whom naturalized; (15) the designation of the political party of the elector, if he desires to vote at primaries; and (16) the affidavit of registration, which shall be signed by the elector, attested by the signature of a board member or the clerk and dated by him. Each registration card shall also have a sufficient number of spaces thereon for the insertion of: (17) the election district and polling district in which the elector resides and to which he may from time to time remove, together with his street address in each such district, and the other data required to be given upon such removal; (18) the date of each election and primary at which the elector votes; and (19) the signature or initials of the election officer who enters the record of voting on the card.

(d)  If the applicant for registration shall allege inability to sign his name, then he shall be required to present affidavits, subscribed in person before a member of the board or the clerk, of two electors who are personally acquainted with the applicant and who know his qualifications as an elector. Each of said two electors shall state in his affidavit the applicant's residence, his own residence, his knowledge of the statement made by the applicant under oath or affirmation in applying for registration, and his belief that they are true. Upon the filing of such affidavits, the applicant shall be permitted to subscribe to his oath or affirmation by making his mark, except that if the applicant's inability to sign his name is not due to some apparent physical infirmity, he shall first also be required to make and file with a member of the board or the clerk, an affidavit of his inability to sign his name. Every affidavit required because of an applicant's inability to sign his name shall be filed with the registration card of the person whose registration it affects.

(e)  When the registration of an elector has been completed, the Board member, clerk, or registrar shall return the proof of United States citizenship to the elector, and shall deliver to the registered elector a Certificate of Registration, to which a picture of the elector is permanently attached. The Certificate of Registration, signed by the Board member, clerk, or registrar, shall include the name and address of the elector, his signature or mark, birth date, election district and polling district, designation of party enrollment, if any, the serial number of his registration card, the fact of registration, and the date thereof.

(f)  In carrying out the provisions of this section, the Chairman of each Board of Elections shall provide that the registration of the elector be conducted in the Spanish language for those applicants who are not fluent in the English language.