(V.I Consortium) ST. THOMAS — The St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections during a meeting on Monday voted against certifying the April 8 special election results, a move that sends further into question the fate of a 15th Senate seat that has been vacant since the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands barred Senator-elect Kevin Rodriquez from being sworn-in, based on residency discrepancies surrounding his candidacy. The court challenge to Mr. Rodriquez was brought by Janelle K. Sarauw — who had lost her attempt to be a senator in the November 2016 general election, but wound up winning the special election — and Brigitte Berry, Ms. Sarauw’s campaign aide.
The prevailing vote not to certify the election succeeded with a 3-2 margin, with board members Maurice Donovan (Mr. Donovan made the motion not to certify), Board Chairman Arturo Watlington, Jr. and Carla Joseph voting in favor of the motion. Voting against the motion were board members Ivy Moses and Lydia Hendricks. Board member Diane Magras abstained from voting.
Board attorney Julita de Leon, in past meetings, has said that Mr. Rodriquez would first have to be decertified in order for the Board of Elections to certify the special election, which would give Ms. Sarauw her seat — a move that Ms. de Leon maintains only the Legislature can remedy.
When District Court Judge Curtis Gomez dismissed the Rodriquez suit, he also dismissed a challenge by Ms. Sarauw — in essence giving neither Mr. Rodriquez nor Ms. Sauraw a victory. An appeal by Mr. Rodriquez to stop the certification of the special election was also dismissed.