Posted By Craig Barshinger

I'm here at the Elections office in St. Thomas. My purpose is to verify that walk-in absentee ballots are being processed properly and courteously.

I have spoken with Ms. Venzen who affirms that no challenge is made to those who request an absentee ballot.  I have observed two people voting by walk-in absentee. Both individuals simply filled out a form and were given a paper ballot. They took it to a secluded area where they filled out the paper ballot. They returned to the central hall and deposited their ballot through a slot in a large plywood box that is sealed with two deadbolts.

Additional voters have come and followed the same procedure.

I've asked a couple voters about their satisfaction. They are satisfied. I'm observing that the approximate time is less than 15 mins, start to finish. There is no waiting line.

 

From the elections office,

 

-Craig


 
Posted By Craig Barshinger

Responding to public concern over how we vote, Senator Neville James called a meeting of appropriate cmte on October 13. The Supervisor of Elections and the Board of Elections members were invited. John Abramson, Supervisor of Elections. No board members attended.

I attended in order to pursue my intent to allow Paper Ballot Early Voting (announced below in my Oct 2 blog post). I asked Mr. Abramson if the Elections Office could accommodate more walk-in absentee voters now than in the past. He said yes.

I asked him why the Elections Office required proof from the voter when the voter chose a reason to execute his/her vote by walk-in absentee in the 14 days prior to an election. He revealed, after discussion, that there was no statutory basis to require proof.

I took Mr. Abramson to task for the Elections System's penchant for scolding voters. Even when a voter is simply trying to exercise his/her choice in a neutral manner, the Election System has a habit of scolding the voter. This has the effect of lowering voter confidence in the Election System.

I then asked him, "Would allowing walk-in absentees to vote without challenge impair the accuracy and fairness of the vote tally in any way?" He said No.

After a lunch break, Mr. Abramson reported that he had spoken with the Board of Elections members, and they had decided that there would no longer be any challenge whatsoever to voters wishing to vote on paper by a walk-in absentee ballot.

The voter need only choose one of the nine reasons specified in the law, and affirm by signature that this is his/her reason.

Every voter who wants to vote on paper ballot can do so. I was very pleased to be able to create the same effect as my "EARLY VOTING" legislation by reasoned conversation on the floor of the Legislative Chambers.

[see part 2 for conclusion]


 
Posted By Craig Barshinger

[This is part 2, the conclusion of the previous post]

While I will still pursue the Early Voting legislation in November, I think that essence of the job was done that day.

Please enjoy a Paper Ballot, and avoid standing in line on Election Day. Go to the Elections office on STX, STT, or STJ in from now until Nov. 2 to cast on the spot your walk-in absentee ballot!

And please remember to vote Craig W. Barshinger, #4 on the ballot, for Senator-at-large!

Thank you for your continuing support,

-Craig

Footnote: Perhaps you asked yourself, "How could John Abramson make that decision by calling Board Members during lunch?" The answer is, he cannot. Such a policy decision needs to be called as an agenda item at a Board meeting, and acted upon officially. Nonetheless, I am confident that the formal treatment will be fulfilled, and my office will verify that is has been done so prior to November 2.


 

 

 
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