Nov. 2, 2004 – Voters faced an onslaught of supporters as they made their way to the polls. Obeying V.I. law, banner and flag-waving supporters stayed 100 feet from the polling places but they were still trying their best to influence voters to cast a vote for their candidate. The mood was cordial and the number of the voters going to the polls was steady. Occasionally trucks, vans, jeeps and other vehicles decorated with life-size posters of candidates, flags and balloons, blaring campaign slogans and songs passed by and ignited the passions of supporters to dance and sing with renewed vigor.
Many of the polls experienced a rush of early morning voters between 7 and 9 a.m. Some voters had to wait for more than 15 minutes for a turn at the electronic voting machine.
Camille "King Derby" Macedon was stationed at Charles H. Emanuel School, urging voters to support incumbent Sen. Douglas Canton. He said St. Croix voters are "fed up" and want to see a change. "Maybe two or three of the incumbents will stay," he said. Derby said the results of the primary election were a sign of things to come. "I hope the change will be for the better."
At Eulalie Rivera Professional Development School, poll worker Allison Parson said things were going well, and there were no problems with voters. Parson said officials had assisted several handicapped voters, including the visually impaired, exercise their right to vote.
At the Charles H. Emanuel School precinct judge Sheridan Degrasse pointed out the wheelchair ramp leading to the room where the voting machines were housed. "The voting machine can be adjusted up or down to accommodate people in wheelchairs," she said.
Corrine Plaskett, deputy supervisor of elections, oversaw the election operations on St. Croix. She said today's election process had been problem-free: "There have been no problems other than some people showing up at the wrong polling places or people without identification." Plaskett said those issues had been resolved and the voters were able to cast their votes.
Vivian Furet, a judge at the Florence Williams Library, echoed that point. She said the downtown Christiansted polling spot had been busy, but trouble free. She said she could not estimate the turnout because the district serviced by the library had been reconfigured.
Outside the library, King Street was lined with supporters. Joy Williams and Yvonne Julian, supporters of Donna Christensen who is seeking re-election as the Delegate to Congress, said they had been on the street since 6:30 a.m. But they were confident of their candidate's victory. Williams said, she thought probably 99 percent of the voters would vote for Christensen.
Suelis Escobar, waving a sign for Sen. Ronald Russell, said she and her friend Monica Joseph had been there since 9 a.m. Joseph was holding up a sign for Pedro "Pete" Encarnacion, who was trying to win earn his first term in the Senate. Joseph was 100 percent sure her candidate would win while Escobar was just 90 percent sure hers would win.
The election definitely slowed traffic down as it was stop and go all the way into town on King Street, but it appeared that no one was upset. Drivers seemed to accept that this was the price they had to pay for democracy.
According to the elections office, the number of registered voters going to the polls wass consistent with numbers recorded in the 2002 gubernatorial elections. As of 3 p.m. on St. Croix, 10,504 or 41 percent of eligible voters had gone to the polls. In the 2002 race, by 3 p.m. 42 percent of voters had gone to the polls. In 2000, a non-gubernatorial race, 36 percent had gone to the polls by 3 p.m.
Although he is a registered Republican, Macedon said we need a change in the White House. "I didn't agree with Bush looking for weapons of mass destruction. He didn't find any, anyway," Macedon said. Fernella Payne, working the Lew Muckle polling station for Warren B. Mosler and Craig W. Barshinger, said about Bush, "We certainly do not need him for four more years." She also said the V.I. needs to get to vote for president.
A woman who identified herself as "Elsie," selling food from her green mini-van, was advertising more then her local dishes. Her van was decorated with five Kerry/Edwards posters. "I'm supporting Kerry/Edwards because I think they can do better," she said. Elsie proudly showed an autographed photo of the Democratic candidates. "My daughter sent this to me from the states," she said.
Allison Parson said she was supporting Kerry because he is a Democrat, and she is concerned about the ongoing war. "We need our young men to come back from overseas, more families are without fathers and mothers too," she said.
Lois Sanders was manning the polls at Charles H. Emanuel School, her sentiments were "anybody but Bush." Sanders said Kerry does not impress her as much as President Bill Clinton did, but Kerry is the Democratic nominee. "I think we are going to see a big change," she said.
Samuel Baptiste, who served 13 years in the military, said he believes Bush is the right man for the job. "He seems to be better prepared to deal with national security issues," he said, adding he admires the president for his religious convictions.
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