Nov. 11, 2004 The outcome of the St. Thomas-St. John senatorial race and the senator-at-large race may shift gears as the Board of Election continues with its counting of walk-in and absentee ballots.
Board of Election Chairman Lawrence Boschulte said Wednesday evening that after counting the provisional ballots and most of the walk-in ballots the at-large race has narrowed.
Incumbent Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd has picked up about 70 more votes, Boschulte said, narrowing Craig Barshinger's lead. The unofficial results on election night gave Barshinger 12, 177 votes to Liburd's 11,852. Sen. Roosevelt David still holds the 7th position in the senatorial race, but with more votes left to be counted that could change. In the unofficial tally he had a lead of only 298 votes over Alvin Williams.
"Anything is possible," Boschulte said. "It's close enough that things can change."
The Board of Election, which began counting walk-in ballots Tuesday evening, had counted 402 walk-ins at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Boschulte said 25 walk-in ballots were remaining to be counted for the delegate race.
On Monday, 239 provisional ballots were counted after being researched to see whether those votes were valid.
"We want to make sure that we double-check everything and not just throw out votes," Boschulte said, adding that every voter should be given a fair chance to participate in the process.
Boschulte said provisional ballots are disqualified for two main reasons – the voter failed to vote in two successive general elections or the voter registered to vote in another jurisdiction or island. Of the 239 ballots 56 were discounted on Monday for clear violations, Boschulte said.
The walk-in ballots, which are commonly referred to as early voting ballots on the mainland, are votes cast by residents before the Nov. 2 general election because they would not have been able to vote on that day.
Boschulte said the official results of the election would not be released until Nov. 13, 14, or 15, after the mail-in absentee ballots had been counted. The deadline for releasing the official results is Nov. 16.
Mail-in absentee ballots must be received by Nov. 12 to be counted. Boschulte could not give the total amount of absentee ballots received so far. He said new ones keep coming in and are being added to the batch so he did not have a current figure. The board will meet on Saturday to count the absentee ballots that have come in thus far.
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