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News / Virgin Islands / July 5, 2017

ST. THOMAS — The Virgin Islands Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition by Janelle Sarauw requesting that the court order the Board of Elections in the St. Thomas-St. John District to certify the April 8 special election. The petition was denied without prejudice, which means the matter could yet be before the court.

“As to the judge, the petitioner failed to prove that her right to an immediate ruling is clear and indisputable,” reads a portion of the opinion, seen in full below. “Although election cases must receive expedited consideration, the petitioner contributed to the delay in the underlying matter by also filing requests for declaratory and injunctive relief. Moreover, the petitioner filed motions for a ruling with new exhibits attached immediately prior to seeking mandamus relief from the Supreme Court, and the failure of the Superior Court to consider these motions within one working day is not evidence that the Superior Court does not intend to issue a ruling in a prompt manner.”

On the Board of Elections duty to certify elections, the Supreme Court said, “With respect to the Board of Elections, the petitioner established that she possesses a clear and indisputable right to have the results of the special election certified, for certification within the statutorily-mandated fifteen days is a ministerial act that the Board of Elections lacks the discretion to simply postpone.”

In the writ mandamus, Ms. Sarauw detailed the events that led to the June 28 decision by the 32nd Legislature, and asked whether the Board of Elections had any other duty relative to the matter but to certify the special election, especially in light of the 32nd body’s decision.

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