Looking a little worse for wear, members of the St. Croix district board of elections finished counting the last of the paper ballots cast in the Nov. 6 election Saturday morning.
Board members have been meeting daily over the last week and a half to process the large number of ballots. Though the lengthy process has elicited ridicule from the public and consternation amongst the candidates, in the end the paper ballots added little drama to the race: the winners of the election on St. Croix remain exactly the same Saturday as they were on election night.
The Source was not able to get final results from St. Thomas/St. John district Saturday.
St. Croix board member Dodson James said he was relieved the process was almost over. He said the paper ballot count took as long as it did because the board of elections was not given the proper tools to process the ballots quickly.
In the United States, where paper ballots are used, election officials usually have access to optical scanning machines that can automatically tally the results, according to James. The paper ballots are simply fed through a machine.
The law granting Virgin Islands citizens the right to request a paper ballot was passed earlier this year and the board of elections was not able to purchase such machines before the election. Instead, they had to count each ballot by hand.
The process was as low-tech as possible. One board member read the votes aloud while three others marked tallies on legal pads with pencils. As the ballots from each precinct were finished, members counted up their hash marks and checked to make sure they all came up with the same numbers.
James expressed hope that scanning machines would be purchased before the 2014 elections and this process would never have to be repeated.
Sen. Alicia Hansen gathered the most support in the St. Croix senate race with 5,454 votes. She will be joined in the 30th Legislature by Sammuel Sanes with 5,212 votes, Judi Fricks-Buckley with 5,114 votes, Nereida Rivera O’Reilly with 4,794 votes, Diane Capehart with 4,464 votes, Terrence Nelson with 4,350 votes, and Kenneth Gittens with 3,804 votes.
Craig Barshinger was victorious by a large margin in the senator-at-large race, as was Donna M. Christensen in the delegate race.
Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal finished in the lead in the board of elections race with 4,180 votes. She will be joined y Lisa Harris-Moorhead with 3,298 votes, Roland Moolenaar with 2,580 votes, and Glenn Webster with 2,209 votes.
In the board of education race, Terrence Joseph won with 4,235 votes, followed by Winona Hendricks with 3,630 votes, Mary Moorhead with 3,271 votes, and Martial Webster with 2,611 votes.
Oswin Sewer ran unopposed in the board of education at-large race.
The board finished counting the last of the mail-in absentee ballots Friday night and reconvened Saturday morning to process 13 provisional ballots. Supervisor of Elections John Abramson later ruled that the results of the provisional ballots would not be released until Monday, but the numbers are so small that they will not have impact the results.
The board will reconvene to add the write-in votes from the electronic ballots to the official results, but board chairman Rupert Ross said this too will have little impact on the results, as many write-in votes are for “Genghis Khan and Mickey Mouse.”
The board has until Nov. 21 to certify the election.