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Turnout Strong as Voters Cast Their Ballots Once Again

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Nov. 21, 2006 — A steady stream of St. John voters went to the polls in Coral and Cruz bays Tuesday to cast their ballot for governor and lieutenant governor in the gubernatorial runoff election.
"It's my duty to vote," Coral Bay resident Guy Benjamin said on his way in to vote at the school that bears his name.
At Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay, several people echoed Benjamin's remarks. "I'm exercising my rights," Vashti Boynes said.
Sally Browne said she made the effort to vote because she wants to see a change in leadership and administration. She said that although the territory will get a new administration whether John deJongh or Kenneth Mapp becomes governor, she said she wants it "the way I want it."
Karen Osphal-Roberts said voting was a right that was fought for by the nation's ancestors.
"It's such a right other people don't have," she said.
Una Blyden said she hopes the new administration will pay more attention to St. John seniors and the homeless.
She said St. John needs a shelter where homeless people can spend the night.
"We have homeless people sleeping all over the place. Tourists come and it looks so bad," she said.
Pedro Ramos said he wants the incoming administration to open the roads long closed with V.I. National Park borders to provide access in case of a disaster.
Rudolph "Pimpy" Thomas, busy conversing with John Costanzo outside Guy Benjamin School , called for a revision in the territory's Organic Act so that the candidate who gets the most votes in a gubernatorial election will be the winner.
As the Organic Act currently reads, the successful gubernatorial candidate must get an outright majority of the votes. DeJongh and his running mate, Gregory Francis, fell just two votes short of this requirement, which meant that voters had to return to the polls to cast another ballot.
Thomas pointed out that it will take action by the U.S. Congress to change the 50-percent-plus-one provision, but that the territory's voters could include the change when they vote on a constitution.
St. John resident Monica Boyd Richards, who was on hand to support Mapp and running mate Almando "Rocky" Liburd at Sprauve School, said that her students at Edith Williams School on St. Thomas had lots of questions about this election.
"They wanted to know what's a runoff," she said.
Mapp, who along with and Liburd, was shaking hands and campaigning outside Guy Benjamin School, said, "St. John residents matter and residents of Coral Bay matter."
DeJongh supporters said their candidate had been at the St. John polls earlier.
Madeline Sewer, a voting facilitator at the Sprauve School polling place, said that because voters only had two choices, there were no "back-ups," such as those encountered in the Nov. 7 general election.
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