On March 10, President Gwen-Marie Moolenaar presented the League's recommendations on several Election Reform bills at the Legislature's Rules and Judiciary Commitee. Below are the recommenations she read.
BILL NO 31-0278 (Required Nomination Signatures)
LWV is in support of this Bill but makes the following suggestions for revision:
Change the numerical requirement for the number of signatures required for nomination papers to a specific percentage of the registered voters as follows:
- For Senator: 1% of the party’s registered voters
- For Governor: 1.5% of the party’s registered voters
- For Delegate: 1.5% of the party’s registered voters
- Office in a single District: 0.5% of the party’s registered voters
If the number of a party’s registered voters is 1000 or fewer, the percentage of signatures required for nomination is 10%. However, no candidate can be nominated for Senator with fewer than 50 signatures, nor for Governor and Delegate with fewer than 100 signatures.
Rationale for this recommendation is that some political parties have significantly fewer registered voters than others. Therefore, to require a specific number ((e.g. 200 for Senator) could pose a hardship or even an impossibility for the smaller parties. A percentage requirement would therefore be more equitable.
BILL 31-0102: (Political Pairing)
While LWV understands the intent of this bill, we are of the opinion that a party affiliated candidate should be able to pair with an Independent candidate to run on a single ticket. In some mainland states the Governor and Lt Governor are elected separately and may therefore be elected from separate parties. It is noted, however, that the responsibilities of the Lt Gov in those states differ from those in the USVI. LWV-VI nonetheless favors allowing an Independent candidate to pair with a party-affiliated candidate.
BILL 31-0264 (Election Offence)
LWV is in support of the Bill but recommends that the following be added to further strengthen the Bill:
lt should be required that all candidates for the offices of Governor, Delegate and Senator be required as part of their candidacy to sign an Affidavit of Non-Registration stating that they are not registered as a voter in jurisdictions other than the USVI. The Superintendent of Elections should send an Inquiry of Registration (a new form) to any known areas of residence where the candidate may have resided to further confirm this.
BILL 31-0265 (Bona Fide Resident)
LWV understands and supports the intent of this Bill. However, LWV strongly recommends that the Bill should include a definition of BONA FIDE RESIDENT as the term carries special meaning in other places of the VI Code.
LWV supports this Bill in its entirety but only suggests a change in case of letters: i.e. Board of Elections
LWV recommends the re-wording as follows:
This Bill amends Section 492 to allow for the inclusion of the political party symbol on the official ballot next to a candidate’s name solely for the purpose of showing the candidate’s party affiliation, and deletes the provision in Section 5223 that allows for voting on the electronic voting machine for multiple candidates by voting for the party symbol