Taevion and Tariq Calixte stand outside the Julius E. Sprauve School polling station in Cruz Bay on Tuesday, November 4 showing their support for Senator Janette Millin Young.
ST. JOHN — Hundreds of St. John residents made their preferences known in the general election Nov. 4, and election workers took extra time to make sure every vote cast could be added to the tally for the District of St. Thomas-St. John.
A team of Board of Elections members and volunteer poll judges spent several hours sorting through ballots which had to be counted by hand because of the number of write-ins, spoiled ballots, rejected ballots and party symbol votes coming from the two St. John polling place, Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay and the Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay.
Those St. John votes which did not have to be batched, sorted and scrutinized, got processed from the DS200 electronic tabulators stationed at both schools and stored on computer flash drives which were fed into a district computer.
There were also between 75-100 early voting ballots added to the hand count.
St. John Candidates Have Varied Success
Five St. John candidates appearing on the ballot in various races fared somewhere between very well and fare thee well. A former Senator at Large was returned to office by voters.
One poll judge said there were multiple write-ins on some St. John ballots. One poll judge said there were also ballots seen with the slogan “Save Coral Bay” in the write in slots.
“They’re going to be manually counted for symbols from Guy Benjamin,” said district Board of Elections member Alecia Wells. “There were 20.”
Of the St. John ballots requiring a hand count 573 were counted, 20 were rejected and 53 ballots bore symbol votes.
Casting votes according to political party symbols is permitted under Virgin Islands law. Those who choose that method of voting cast automatic votes for affiliated candidates when they chose the symbol for either the Democratic, Republican or Independent Citizens Movement(ICM) parties.
District Board Chairman Arturo Watlington ordered duplicate ballots drawn up for rejected ballots that had usable portions. The original ballot was then stamped “duplicated,” once the usable portions were transferred onto a clean ballot sheet and fed into the DS200.
Iris Kern Gartners Write-in Votes
Some of those write-ins were for last minute Board of Elections candidate Iris Kern, who got most of the 85 write-in votes.
Kern was defeated by St. John Democratic candidate for the elections board Ivy Moses. As of the latest unofficial count taken Nov. 7, Moses whose name appeared on district wide ballots, had 2,835 votes.
Other St. John hopefuls had varying results from the voter. Jodi Hodge, running for a district seat in the 31st Legislature ran 16th in a field of 18 with 557 votes. Wilma Marsh-Monsanto ran 12th with 1,557 votes.
The top vote getter in the St. Thomas-St. John district Senate race was newcomer Marvin Blyden with 5,459 votes.
Former Senate President Almando “Rocky” Liburd was returned to the Legislature by the voters. Voters from St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix vote for the at large candidate.
Rocky KOs Ronnie to Regain at Large
Independent Liburd unofficially won 5,065 votes defeating rival St. Johnian Democrat Ronnie Jones with 3,504 votes as of Nov. 7.
Voters participating in the Nov. 4 general election chose candidates for the posts of Delegate to Congress, Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Senator At Large, seven district Senate seats, three candidates for the district Board of Elections.
They also voted “yes” or “no” on two referendum questions. One asked if voters wanted to see the development of a medical marijuana industry in the Virgin Islands. The other asked if lawmakers in the Legislature should be granted four year terms instead of the current two.
Across the district, in unofficial numbers, voters overwhelmingly said no to four-year terms for senators and said yes to legalizing medical marijuana.