Territory's Supervisor of Elections Opposes bill calling it "costly and confusing."
Bill Would Put Presidential Candidates to Symbolic Vote
By Bill Kossler — August 13, 2011
Although U.S. Virgin Islands residents do not have a vote in U.S presidential elections, a bill sponsored by Sens. Louis Hill, Carlton "Ital" Dowe, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen and Sammuel Sanes would put presidential tickets on V.I. ballots starting in 2012 should it become law.
Supervisor of Elections John Abramson, appearing before the Senate for the first time since being reappointed earlier this week to a third eight-year term, testified against the bill. "While I believe the intent of the proposed legislation is noble, it is my strong feeling that implementation of this legislation would be costly and create confusion among electors," Abramson said.
A qualifying system would have to be established, to determine what candidates are allowed on the ballot, he said. There are as many as a dozen candidates who make it on the ballots of one or more states, and it would add to the cost of elections to have to determine which party's candidates meet local criteria, put them onto the ballot and tally their results, he said.
Asked if the ballot could be restricted to just the Democratic and Republican parties, Abramson said the Legislature may be able to do that, but "that would be unfair to other parties," such as the Green party or Libertarians. Later, when asked if just having presidential candidates on primary ballots would eliminate the concern over large numbers of presidential candidates, Abramson said that approach might be feasible.
Hill, one of the sponsors of the bill, said the bill first occurred to several of the senators when Barack Obama was running for president in 2008. "I and others were of the opinion it would have felt good to cast a vote for the first African-American president, even if it didn't really count," Hill said.
Herb Schoenbohm of the V.I. Republican Party and Carol M. Burke of the V.I. Democratic Party both testified strongly in support of the bill, arguing it was an important symbolic act.
The bill was held in committee.
This bill is utterly ridiculous, and only will make it more difficult for the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands to achieve a sense of local identity, and patriotism. It really is a veiled ploy to thwart the authentic desire for and meaningful steps toward the achievement of genuine self determination. True leaders and elected officials educate their constituency and prepare the foundation for concrete measures that will guide their territory and people towards substantive political development.
This effort is wrong and is even anti-American. The colonists in the mid 1770's fought for concrete democracy not mere symbolism. Although it has not been fully achieved for all, it is still the purported purpose of the American Revolution and the subsequent constitution.
This move by VI elected officials is merely "politricks" and another attempt to exploit the emotions of the people for their personal political advancement. It is also an attempt to replace the hard work of serious and real political and constitutional reform with an easy and pseudo act to placate some of the electorate.
Why don't they enact measures that will generate local political maturity and self sufficiency?
Politicians who are only interested in their personal advancement and that of their supporters, do not want a critical thinking, and informed electorate.
Such a constituency will never elect or re-elect them.
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