The results of the 2022 General Election were certified 11 days after Virgin Islands voters cast in-person ballots at voting centers throughout the territory. The official final tallies were posted Friday on the Elections System social media page.
Posting of the official tallies prompted the chair of the Board of Elections to declare the work of counting ballots done for this season. Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes thanked the public for demonstrating their faith in the election system and stressed the importance of carrying out elections with transparency in mind.
“We are well trained and always adhere to four established steps of public accountability during an election cycle: verify the voter list, verify who did vote, ensure accurate counting of the vote, and remain vigilant that there is a fail-proof chain of custody for every vote cast,” Fawkes said in a statement released Friday night.
According to officials’ results, 22,557 voters cast ballots in the General Election cycle, representing a 56.52 percent turnout. Votes were cast during October’s early voting period through the in-person event on Nov. 8. The results included absentee ballots that were either mailed in or dropped off at elections offices and provisional ballots cast by voters where eligibility had to be determined before they could be included in the count.
Elections Board Secretary Alecia Wells attended the final count of absentee and provisional ballots on Friday prior to certification. Board members meeting at Lockhart Gardens counted mail-in ballots; a number of provisionals were processed as well. Ballots were then fed into the vote tabulators that keep the count.
“The tapes from the machines and the thumb drives were signed off by the persons who were there,” Wells said. Then they signed certification papers at the end.
In the end, the close race for Senator-At-Large produced a winner, with sitting Senator Angel Bolques passing the 50-percent-plus-one tally required in order to avoid a runoff. Competitor Sherry-Ann Francis won 49.09 percent of the vote, according to official results.
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach won re-election with 12,157, or 56.14 percent of the vote. His closest opponent, Sen. Kurt Vialet and running mate, Sen. Janelle Sarauw, won 8,244, or 38.07 percent.
Lawmakers elected to serve in the 35th Legislature held their positions for the seven available seats in the St. Croix District. In the district of St. Thomas-St. John, the ranking order of winners, changed from the unofficial count of Nov. 8.
Fawkes invited those who wish to obtain copies of the results to visit their offices at Sunny Isles Shopping Center on St. Croix and Lockhart Gardens Shopping Center on St. Thomas.
There were, however, some participants in the General Election who, on Thursday, expressed dissatisfaction with the results. Candidates Ronald Pickard, who ran for governor, and Patricia M. James, who ran for a Senate seat, sent a letter to Fawkes alleging misconduct.
Board Chairman Raymond Williams questioned the timing of their complaints, noting that in previous voting cycles, challenges arose earlier in the voting process.
“I’m comfortable with the results. The only thing we need to do now is some auditing to make sure the numbers firm up, and then we’re off planning for the 2024 election,” Williams said.