Virgin Islands election officials are continuing to push for electronic vote-counting machines after observing the primary elections in St. Thomas this month.

But before that can happen, Cabinet will need to approve their proposal and the House of Assembly will need to amend legislation.

Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe, acting permanent secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office, and Election Supervisor Juliette Penn started their observations on Aug. 3 at the St. Thomas Office of the Supervisor of Elections, according to Government Information Services.

Ms. Penn has long pushed for an electronic voting system here that would eliminate the need to count votes by hand late into election night — and often well into the following day.

On St. Thomas, by contrast, tabulator machines allowed the results to be known two hours after the polls closed at 7 p.m., Ms. Stoutt-Igwe said.

“This is the level of efficiency that we are expecting for our next general elections,” she said. “We are therefore looking forward to Cabinet’s approval of the proposal when submitted and the House of Assembly’s subsequent approval of the relevant amendments to the [Elections] Act.”

Ms. Penn added that the St. Thomas visit “showed the many ways that the elections process can be more efficient, in particular with producing the results in a timelier manner. With the use of the machines, the long lines can also be minimised.”

 

The machines

Earlier this year, Ms. Penn’s office hosted two visits from USVI Supervisor of Elections Caroline Fawkes and Willie G. Wesley, Jr., the business development manager of Elections Systems & Software.

During the first visit, Mr. Wesley demonstrated the use of a device known as the DS200 Precinct Scanner and Tabulator to the office’s staff and senior officials in the Deputy Governor’s Office.

On his second visit, he demonstrated the use of the DS200 and another machine, called the AutoMark, to members of the House of Assembly, according to


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