Absentee

V.I. Board of Elections Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr., along with members Alecia Wells and Lydia Hendricks, count absentee ballots Tuesday at the Elections office on St. Thomas.

ST. THOMAS — More than 90 percent of absentee ballots for the 2018 runoff election have to be remade, according to V.I. Board of Elections Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr., an unavoidable reality of the short time span between the General Election and the runoff.

On Tuesday, Watlington said board members on St. Thomas counted 273 absentee ballots — of which, more than 250 will have to be remade because they are not “official” runoff election ballots and cannot be fed into the voting machines.

Watlington said the two weeks between the Nov. 6 General Election and Nov. 20 runoff election gave little time for elections officials to order and receive new ballots.

Indeed, Watlington said ballots for the runoff arrived on Nov. 16, the day prior to early voting.

Board members, like Lydia Hendricks, have voiced their frustration over the time crunch.

“Some legislation needs to take place in order for us to do a really good job because it was so rushed,” said Hendricks, in an earlier interview with The Daily News.

With the 2018 runoff election scheduled to be certified by the end of the week, board members are counting daily the remaining absentee and provisional ballots coming into the system.

Watlington said the St. Thomas-St. John district currently has approximately 300-plus absentee ballots remaining on-hand.

He added that there are approximately 80-100 provisional ballots for the district.

The Elections offices can receive mail-in absentee ballots until Friday.

The Board of Elections is tentatively scheduled to meet collectively at the St. Croix Elections office on Dec. 14.

— Contact A.J. Rao at 340-714-9104 or email ajrao@dailynews.vi.