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In the wake of a severe rainstorm Friday, the offices of the Virgin Islands Elections System on St. Croix was flooded just as Board members made quorum and were about to begin sorting through the remaining ballots from Tuesday’s General Election. However, after two days of counting without having arrived at final results, the Board decided to continue its work, and members Roland Moolenaar and Raymond Williams began clearing the water-logged office.
Of the unexpected task, Williams said, “Somebody’s got to do it.”
He further explained that the first line of business that day would be to sort through ballots that were deemed unreadable at the precincts that were sent to the Board for examination and determination as to whether they were good or spoiled.
From Wednesday through Friday, members of the media, community and various Mapp supporters, as well as Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen and those supporting her, observed the vote-counting process at the Elections System office, an activity encouraged by Board members. Hansen was also seen recording and taking pictures of the proceedings on a mobile device.
On Friday, Board members commenced tallying of ballots designated to be hand counted, including write-ins, sticker, absentee, early voting and symbol ballots.
The Board began counting symbol or Straight Party ballots from the Charles H. Emmanuel precinct because, Board members say, the DS200 machines were not programmed correctly to do so.
Absentee ballots and early voting ballots will also be hand-counted, with Board members revealing that about 500 absentee ballots were sent out and approximately 600 people voted early.
Of the 205 write-in ballots from the Charles H. Emmanuel precinct, the Board counted 45 on Friday and promised to continue on Saturday. Next, they will count sticker ballots, and then repeat the process for each precinct.
The Board completed the scanning of ballots of all precincts on St. Croix on Wednesday night; however, the new results did not change the outcomes of any contest, with the exception of the gubernatorial race, where the Christensen-Ottley team gained momentum to arrive at an unofficial total of receiving approximately 37 percent of the votes, and the Mapp-Potter team settling at roughly 48 percent.
On Friday, VI Consortium explained that in order for Mapp to prevent a runoff, he would have to collect 76 percent of the remaining symbol and absentee votes.
It is unclear when the Board will complete hand counting, but the deadline to do so is November 15.
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