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Handling Challenges, Conspiracy Theories

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USVI News gets the latest on the 2022 Election process in the territory. Our team Alli Bourne-Vanneck and Lesley Comisiong recently sat down with Supervisor of Elections Caroline Fawkes and Deputy Supervisor for the St. Thomas and St. John District Kevermay Douglas.

How do you handle people when they want to question? When they want to poke holes at everything? When you all know how much goes into the process?” USVI News Alli Bourne-Vanneck asked.

“Well the job of elections we know there will be challenges, they’ll be conspiracy theories. And so we just got to continue to do our job, by the book, follow the laws as they’re written. Not where we’d like it to be or we think it’s going to change,” Supervisor of Election of the Election System of the Virgin Islands Caroline Fawkes said.

“We have to follow what’s written there presently. We have to double check ourselves. We are human, and mistakes happen. So we all try together to work as a team. Most of the staff members have been there numerous years, 25 years, 20 years, 10 years. We as managers are the newbies there. And I’ve been there since 2014, Ms. Douglas since 2015 or 2016, so we’ve been there a number of years. So we continue to put checklist in places. We have written policies in place to guide us. Because a lot of time we have things in our heads that somebody else might come in and have to pick up. So we need to make sure we have policies in place, and so we double check each other. And so our goal is to always improve to improve the process from the last time,” Fawkes said.

“Going back to issues with the systems and doubts that have been spread throughout the community in terms of the efficacy of the elections here. Let’s talk about some of the security mechanisms that are in place and ensure that the vote is indeed accurate,” USVI News Lesley Comissiong said.

“Well some of the security measures we have in place we can’t tell you or the public but those we can discuss I will address. The system itself that we utilize the DS 200, there’s three audible forms on those machines. There are the ballots that we vote on, there’s the jump the information is stored on, and then there’s the tape that comes off the machine. So that’s three ways. Usually on the night of the election, the board checks the jump drive. But the tape is in the bag and they can look at the numbers and compare it,” Fawkes said.

“When they audit, which is 30 days after, they check the physical ballots that’s in the bin. So we have processes and procedures that verify that number. From 2014 they’ve been doing numbers and they’ve always been 100% accurate,” Fawkes said.

“Are there any third parties that do the audits? Or is the audit conducted internally?” Comissiong asked.

“The audit is done by the board, they randomly select a polling place. So they select a polling place and the public is invited to come in and view that process, all our processes are open to the public. From the testing of the machine, to the election night, and the audit that follows 30 days after,” Fawkes said.

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