Case: Bryan v. Abramson, Jr.

1:10-cv-00079 | District Court of the Virgin Islands

Filed Date: Aug. 17, 2010

Closed Date: Aug. 31, 2010

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Plaintiff Adelbert Bryan, a resident of St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands, filed suit against John Abramson, Jr. as Supervisor of Elections, the Joint Board of Elections and Government of the Virgin Islands ("Defendants") seeking a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against Defendants to enjoin them from requiring voters who elect not to use electronic voting machines to use provisional ballots instead of paper ballots in the upcoming primary and general elections of 2010…

Plaintiff Adelbert Bryan, a resident of St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands, filed suit against John Abramson, Jr. as Supervisor of Elections, the Joint Board of Elections and Government of the Virgin Islands ("Defendants") seeking a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against Defendants to enjoin them from requiring voters who elect not to use electronic voting machines to use provisional ballots instead of paper ballots in the upcoming primary and general elections of 2010. Mr. Bryan filed this suit in the District Court of the Virgin Islands, Division of St. Croix. 

Mr. Bryan alleged that Defendants decided in July 30, 2022 meeting to force voters who did not wish to use electronic voting machines to use provisional ballots instead of secret paper ballots, and delayed announcing this decision until August 4, 2010. Mr. Bryan also alleged that Defendants improperly cancelled others' voter registrations.

Mr. Bryan's complaint alleged that Defendants' actions were in violation of the Virgin Islands Code - 18 V.I.C. §§ 514, 516 and 518 - and the Help America Vote ACT of 2002 ("HAVA") -  42 U.S.C. §§ 15301 et seq. Mr. Bryan alleged federal question jurisdiction under HAVA. Mr. Bryan alleged that due to the delayed announcement of Defendants' decision regarding the use of provisional ballots, administrative proceedings to resolve the suit were not available. 

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on various grounds, including lack of subject matter jurisdiction, lack of entitlement under federal or state law to use a paper ballot, and lack of standing, among others. 

The district court dismissed Mr. Bryan's action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on finding that the suit did not involve a question of federal law - the court found that HAVA applies only to federal elections, only explicitly provides for enforcement by civil action by the Attorney General, and that Mr. Bryan failed to cite any part of HAVA that supports his complaint. In addition, the court found HAVA to be wholly inconsistent with Mr. Bryan's claim, and stated that Mr. Bryan's "claims under HAVA are wholly 'unsubstantiated and frivolous' and 'completely devoid of merit.'" The court also found that Mr. Bryan relied on outdated parts of the Virgin Islands Code, and that the current law under the Virgin Islands Code was consistent with the use of provisional ballots in lieu of electronic voting machines. Finally, the court found that Mr. Bryan did not have standing to challenge the alleged improper cancellation of voter registrations because he did not alleged that his voter registration had been canceled.

 

Summary Authors

Gada Al Herz (10/20/2022)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

1:10-cv-00079

Complaint

Aug. 17, 2010

Aug. 17, 2010

Complaint
19

1:10-cv-00079

Memorandum of order dismissing complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Aug. 31, 2010

Aug. 31, 2010

Order/Opinion
17

1:10-cv-00079

Memorandum

Aug. 31, 2010

Aug. 31, 2010

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5110415/bryan-v-abramson-jr/

Last updated Dec. 24, 2022, 3:08 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against John Abramson, Jr., Government of the Virgin Islands, Joint Board of Elections filed by ADELBERT M. BRYAN. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet) (MB) (Additional attachment(s) added on 8/18/2010: # 3 Exhibit, # 4 Exhibit, # 5 Exhibit) (MB). (Entered: 08/17/2010)

1 Affidavit

View on PACER

2 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

3 Exhibit

View on PACER

4 Exhibit

View on PACER

5 Exhibit

View on PACER

Aug. 17, 2010

Aug. 17, 2010

Clearinghouse
2

Summons Issued as to John Abramson, Jr.. (MB) (Entered: 08/17/2010)

Aug. 17, 2010

Aug. 17, 2010

PACER
3

Summons Issued as to Government of the Virgin Islands thru Vincent Frazer. (MB) (Entered: 08/17/2010)

Aug. 17, 2010

Aug. 17, 2010

PACER
4

Summons Issued as to Joint Board of Elections thru Raymond Williams. (MB) (Entered: 08/17/2010)

Aug. 17, 2010

Aug. 17, 2010

PACER

Filing fee: $ 350.00, receipt number 100000898 (MB)

Aug. 17, 2010

Aug. 17, 2010

PACER
5

SUMMONS Returned Executed by ADELBERT M. BRYAN. John Abramson, Jr. served on 8/17/2010, thru A. Roberts answer due 9/7/2010. (MB) Modified on 8/18/2010 (MB). (Entered: 08/18/2010)

Aug. 18, 2010

Aug. 18, 2010

PACER
6

SUMMONS Returned Executed by ADELBERT M. BRYAN on Vincent Frazer received by Robert Cazauke, answer due by 9/7/2010 (MB) Modified on 8/18/2010 (MB). (Entered: 08/18/2010)

Aug. 18, 2010

Aug. 18, 2010

PACER
7

SUMMONS Returned Executed by ADELBERT M. BRYAN. Joint Board of Elections served on 8/17/2010, thru A. Roberts for Raymond Williams Answer due by 9/7/2010. (MB) (Entered: 08/18/2010)

Aug. 18, 2010

Aug. 18, 2010

PACER
8

ORDER (CVG), that a hearing in this matter is SCHEDULED to begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. on August 26, 2010, before the Honorable Judge Harvey Bartle; that the Clerk of the Court shall contact the parties to inform them of the scheduled hearing. (SED) (Entered: 08/24/2010)

Aug. 24, 2010

Aug. 24, 2010

PACER
9

MOTION and memorandum of law in support of preliminary injunction and an emergency ex-parte Temporary Restraining Order by Plaintiff ADELBERT M. BRYAN. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order) (MB) (Entered: 08/24/2010)

Aug. 24, 2010

Aug. 24, 2010

PACER

HARD COPY NOTICE of filing sent to Adelbert Bryan, John Abramson, Raymond Williams, Vincent Frazer Related Document: 8 all parties were notify via phone and certify copy of order was fax with confirmation (MB)

Aug. 24, 2010

Aug. 24, 2010

PACER
10

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by ADELBERT M. BRYAN re 9 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order (MB) (Entered: 08/25/2010)

Aug. 25, 2010

Aug. 25, 2010

PACER
11

MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction and for Failure to State a Claim by Defendants John Abramson, Jr., Government of the Virgin Islands, Joint Board of Elections. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order) (Thomas-Jacobs, Carol) (Entered: 08/25/2010)

Aug. 25, 2010

Aug. 25, 2010

PACER
12

NOTICE of Appearance by Melvin H Evans, JR on behalf of Defendants John Abramson, Jr., Government of the Virgin Islands, Joint Board of Elections (Evans, Melvin) (Entered: 08/25/2010)

Aug. 25, 2010

Aug. 25, 2010

PACER
13

MEMORANDUM in Support re 11 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction and for Failure to State a Claim filed by Defendants John Abramson, Jr., Government of the Virgin Islands, Joint Board of Elections. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Superior Court Complaint, # 2 Exhibit Letter to Delegate to Congress, # 3 Exhibit Administrative complaint procedure, # 4 Exhibit Bryan Administrative Complaint, # 5 Exhibit Letter Setting Informal Admin Heaing, # 6 Exhibit Rules and Regs for Provisional Ballot, # 7 Exhibit Election Reform Act of 1984) (Thomas-Jacobs, Carol) (Entered: 08/25/2010)

Aug. 25, 2010

Aug. 25, 2010

PACER
14

APPLICATION (Amici Curiae Petition). (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit) (MB) (Entered: 08/25/2010)

Aug. 25, 2010

Aug. 25, 2010

PACER
15

Opposition to Motion re 9 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order filed by Defendants John Abramson, Jr., Government of the Virgin Islands, Joint Board of Elections. (Thomas-Jacobs, Carol) (Entered: 08/25/2010)

Aug. 25, 2010

Aug. 25, 2010

PACER
16

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Harvey Bartle, III: Motion Hearing held on 8/26/2010 re 9 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order filed by ADELBERT M. BRYAN, 11 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction and for Failure to State a Claim filed by John Abramson, Jr., Government of the Virgin Islands, Joint Board of Elections. (Court Reporter Y. Setorie.) (MB) (Entered: 08/26/2010)

Aug. 26, 2010

Aug. 26, 2010

PACER
17

MEMORANDUM (HB) dated 8/31/2010 (MB) (Entered: 08/31/2010)

Aug. 31, 2010

Aug. 31, 2010

Clearinghouse
18

ORDER Motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is GRANTED(HB) dated 8/31/2010 (MB) (Entered: 08/31/2010)

Aug. 31, 2010

Aug. 31, 2010

PACER
19

NOTICE OF CORRECTED DOCKET ENTRYRe: 17 Memorandum Opinion, Order. (Attachments: # 1 order) (MB) (Entered: 09/01/2010)

1 order

View on RECAP

Aug. 31, 2010

Aug. 31, 2010

Clearinghouse

ORDER DISMISSING CASE(HB) dated 8/31/2010(This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no.pdf document associated with this entry.) (MB)

Aug. 31, 2010

Aug. 31, 2010

PACER

Document #19 is the same document as document #17 & 18 it is only correcrted so that it may be uploaded to the Courtweb. (MB)

Sept. 1, 2010

Sept. 1, 2010

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Virgin Islands

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 17, 2010

Closing Date: Aug. 31, 2010

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Adelbert M. Bryan. According to Wikipedia, Mr. Bryan is a politician and former senator. He served as a Frederiskted police commander, as a Senator, and on the Board of Education. In 1989 he ran for Governor of the United States Virgin Islands.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Unknown

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Supervisor of Elections, The Joint Board of Elections, and Government of the Virgin Islands (St. Croix Island), None

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Help America Vote Act (HAVA), 52 U.S.C. § 20901 et seq (previously 42 U.S.C. § 15301 et seq)

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Voting

Voting:

Election administration

Voter qualifications

National Origin/Ethnicity:

Other