Nov. 2, 2004 — Voters filed in one by one Tuesday morning at the Curriculum Center in Estate Tutu while campaign supporters vied for their attention across the street, seeking one last attempt to gain votes for their candidates.
The voters eased in and out the building at a steady pace as they cast their votes for the candidates in this year's General Election.
Leopold Sprauve, a registered voter who had voted at the Anna's Retreat Community Center last election, said he was pleased with the transition to the Curriculum Center.
"We're out of the sun, and we got through faster," Sprauve said.
The Board of Elections decided to close the Anna's Retreat Center and E. Benjamin Oliver polling sites this year, redirecting those registered at those sites to the Curriculum Center.
Lawrence Boschulte, Board of Elections chairman, gave long lines as the reason for the change. (See "Election Officials Prepared for High Turnout"). The move seemed to have worked because hardly any line could be seen from outside the building.
But for workers inside it was a different story.
The Curriculum Center was divided into two polling areas, one for the Benjamin Oliver registered voters and another for the Anna's Retreat Community Center voters.
"It's been very heavy from the time we started out this morning," Anita Arnold, judge for voters formerly of the Benjamin Oliver School, said.
As of 10:50 a.m. 406 voters who had been registered for the Benjamin Oliver School had voted, Arnold said.
She said the move to the Curriculum Center was good but the center should have been used for one of the polling sites instead of two.
"It's a little congested," Arnold said.
Alicia Saddler, judge for former Anna's Retreat Community Center voters, expressed similar sentiments.
The Curriculum Center should have only been used for one polling station, Saddler said.
Saddler said despite the congestion they had no major problems. By 11 a.m. 521 former Anna's Retreat Community Center voters had cast their votes.
A few blocks over at the Joseph Gomez Elementary School things seemed slower than normal. By 10:30 a.m. the stream of voters had slowed down to a trickle, and Evelyn Farrington, a judge at the school, gave the total number of voters at 550.
"It has been good so far," Farrington said.
Wilma Marsh Monsanto, candidate for the 26th Legislature, stood in the school parking lot with other supporters encouraging voters passing by to give her one of their votes.
Monsanto, a minister of the Upper Room Experience Ministries in Four Winds Plaza, said she wants to bring about "righteousness in government."
Monsanto, who has run for election several times, said, "I am not giving up."
Across the lot area from Monsanto, several other campaign supporters had set up camp.
David Boyce, a supporter of senatorial candidate Liston Davis, encouraged voters to give Davis a chance.
"I need Liston Davis to get in office and form a coalition among the senators — the Democrats, Republicans, ICMers and no party," Boyce said, adding the retirement system is at stake and the 2005 budget needs to be passed.
Meanwhile, if several of the voters casting their ballots at Addelita Cancryn Tuesday had anything to say about it, John Kerry would be president tomorrow, and Virgin Islanders would be allowed to put him there with their votes.
While campaigning for their own V.I. candidates, several young people took time out to express their feelings about not being allowed to cast a vote for the U.S. president. "It's terrible. I think we should vote for president," said one campaign worker who didn't want to be identified. "We send our kids over to Iraq to fight, and we can't vote. We definitely feel it."
Jewel P. Harrigan, who was sitting nearby, agreed. "And if the V.I. had any say, we would put Kerry in the White House. And you can quote me."
An older campaign worker agreed with her younger compatriots about Virgin Islanders being able to vote in presidential elections. "I feel angry," she said. "It's part of our rights. We are part of America."
The campaigner said they weren't too worried about their candidates on St. Thomas. "But, St. Croix is the problem," said one with the sound agreement of the others. "You don't know what they're going to do."
St. Croix voters caused an upset for the Democrats in the October primary, booting out Senate President David Jones and freshman Sen. Luther Renee, both Democrats, while throwing support behind Democratic Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen over her Democratic contender Basil Ottley.
Though John Abramson, supervisor of elections, had predicted a 70 percent turnout, voting at Cancryn was slow with 286 voters by shortly after noon.
Gloria Lindquist, an eighth-grade Cancryn Home Economics teacher, took a novel day off. Spread-eagled on the ground by her Jeep, she was busily installing a new canvas top and affixing a tire to the back on the Cancryn grounds, oblivious of the voting traffic trailing over to the cafeteria.
"I already voted at Ulla Muller this morning," Lindquist said, "and I need to get this car fixed now." Lindquist said she hopes to see some improvement for her school after this election.
"It seems we're on the bottom of the list," she said. "Money was appropriated for us, and we still don't have a gymnasium. I have to take my cross-country kids running down the waterfront, because we don't have a regular field. We can use our field when the cricketers aren't using it."
And she isn't too happy about the presidential election, either. "I wish I could vote. Another four years of Bush, we'll all be jobless. I don't see any progress that way."
At noon it was quiet at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School on St. Thomas's East End. Election officials there said a steady stream of voters had been coming to the polling site since it opened at 7 a.m., but no traffic jams had occurred at the site.
Billy D'Ambrosia waited in a short line wearing a Kerry/Edwards hat. D'Ambrosia, owner of Billy D's Special T's, said he was letting his employees off early Tuesday afternoon to vote. "They even have the van," he said, adding, "I would drive them to the polls myself, if I had to, just to make sure they vote."
Before 7 a.m. voters were lined up at Joseph E. Sibilly Elementary School.
A group of students stood in front of Cancryn hoping to raise money for the school band from car washes. "Sorry, God is washing my car," was one response the students received during the noontime deluge.
The rain began only after 11 a.m, so it was not a contributing factor in early morning voting.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice… click here.