Case Caption: Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, Board of Elections, St. Croix District, et al. v. Nereida Rivera O’ReillyCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2014-0085Date: 01/08/2015Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary:

The December 24, 2014 decision of the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, granting a writ of mandamus directing the St. Croix District Board of Elections, its members, and the Government of the Virgin Islands, to cease immediately a recount of votes cast for Alicia “Chucky” Hansen in the 2014 general election in the District of St. Croix for the office of senator is affirmed. Although the Superior Court exceeded its jurisdiction when it disregarded a notice of removal of these proceedings to the federal court, that error was harmless because the United States District Court remanded the matter and acknowledged that proceedings in the Superior Court were ongoing. The Superior Court erred in holding that Hansen lacked standing as a “candidate” to petition the Board of Elections for a recount. It also erred in implicitly rejecting the claim that elections officials unilaterally commenced a recount without first obtaining authorization from a majority of the Board of Elections by vote granting the petition for a recount, which the Board's official records all indicated had not been done. The recount was initiated with no legal authority, and thus the petitioner was entitled to a writ of mandamus. The Superior Court also erred in concluding that the Board could waive statutory timeliness requirements governing recount petitions as set forth in 18 V.I.C. § 629. For the reasons set forth in detail in the present Opinion, the reasoning of the Superior Court's December 24, 2014 opinion was in error but its ultimate decision to grant the writ of mandamus directing that the recount be ceased was correct and that result is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion