Home News Local news St. Croix Polls Exhibit Festive Atmosphere

St. Croix Polls Exhibit Festive Atmosphere

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Nov. 7, 2006 — Despite the warm weather, a steady stream of voters turned out to St. Croix polling stations Tuesday, where they were greeted by swarms of volunteers waving banners and flags for their respective candidates.
The mood was certainly festive, as supporters and volunteers screamed and danced to the candidates' theme songs, which served as the day's soundtrack. Despite the differing political viewpoints, a spirit of camaraderie emerged, as supporters for one camp danced and swayed to the music of rival candidates.
"There is a festive attitude to the day," said Sen. Ronald E. Russell. "People have the right attitude; there is warmth everywhere."
Young and old supporters alike sported shirts emblazoned with their respective candidate's slogan and picture. Children and young adults, although not able to vote, still got involved with the events of the day, yelling at passersby to vote for their candidate.
All the island's polling stations are reported to have opened at 7 a.m., with the exception of Charles H. Emmanuel School, which opened at 7:12 a.m. According to Deputy Supervisor of Elections Corinne Halyard-Plaskett, the school's custodian was a little late opening the gate for voters to enter.
"People were in a long line, some turned away because they said they had to go to work [at] seven," said one Warren Mosler supporter stationed outside the school.
On the west side of the island, St. Gerard's Hall polling station got a slow start due to ongoing construction in Frederiksted's Prince Street area, where Water and Power Authority workers were installing underground electrical lines.
Joan Compton, a supporter of senatorial candidate Luther Renee, said some early voters were turned away because they did not know how to get to the polling station. The WAPA crew said they would complete their work by noon and take down the blockades then.
According to Halyard-Plaskett, the day's problems have been few and far between. Patrick Phillips, owner of P&P Communications, the company in charge of the voting machines, agreed.
"Basically we have only seen minor operator [i.e., voter] malfunctions," Phillips said, adding that some people were not following the directions on the machines.
Incumbent senators, along with the gubernatorial and senatorial hopefuls, were visible at polling stations throughout the day, utilizing the last lap to show voters their dedication.
First-time senatorial candidate Gonzalo Rivera said he chose to run because he was "fed up with the problems St. Croix has been facing."
Democratic candidate Michael Thurland has run for the Senate three times and believes that this time will be the charm. "I am feeling confident," Thurland said. "I am receiving positive feedback in the neighborhoods." Thurland said many people have chosen to vote for individual candidates, instead of straight party tickets.
Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson, of the Independent Citizen's Movement, said his day began at 5:30 a.m. and will continue until the polls close. Nelson, who said the senatorial race was overshadowed by the gubernatorial race, felt it necessary to get out and remind everyone to vote for senators as well. "The campaign has been positive," he said. "I have been consistent over the past two years."
Gubernatorial candidates John deJongh and Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg made their rounds in St. Croix shaking hands and addressing the issues of passersby. Confident in their ability to lead and in getting the amount of votes needed to win, both candidates expressed gratitude to all those who put forth effort to assist them. "What makes me feel confident," deJongh said, "is the supporters and organizers [throughout the territory]. It makes me feel blessed to have their support."
Donastorg said his optimism comes from the response of the community. "[Running mate Dr. Cora Christian and I] have been receiving encouraging and overwhelming response from the community," he said. "The people of the V.I. are looking for transparency and openness." Donastorg added that his team has a record of completing tasks and believes the community is aware of that.
According to officials at the Board of Elections, voter turnout on St. Croix has been steady. As of 3 p.m., 11,540 citizens, roughly 45 percent of eligible voters, had turned out. That's slightly greater than the numbers for the last gubernatorial election in 2002, which registered a 42 percent turnout by 3 p.m.
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