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Absentee Ballots Could Change Election Outcome

Sept. 13, 2004 – The primary election won't be over until Sept. 26 on St. Croix. There are at least 184 absentee ballots to be counted, according to John Abramson Jr., elections supervisor. If those ballots lean significantly to one candidate, there could be a change.
Gregory Bennerson, David S. Jones, and Luther F. Renee have probably already calculated just what the ratio would have to be to get them in the winners' circle.
The official count now has Douglas E. Canton and Emmett Hansen II in the circle. They finished sixth and seventh to run as Democrats for the seven Senate seats on St. Croix in the general election. Canton had 1,184 votes and Hansen had 1,167 votes.
Bennerson was next in line with 1,119 votes. Bennerson would only need 66 of the absentee votes to pass both Canton and Hansen. Of course, the odds are long. The absentee votes are going to be split between 11 candidates and, more than likely, Canton and Hansen will get some of them.
Even ninth-place finisher Jones has the chance to move past sixth-place finisher Canton. Jones has 1,087 votes in the unofficial tally. If Canton did not receive one absentee vote, Jones would only need 98 absentee votes.
Obviously, the most chance for a switch is between seventh-place Hansen and eighth-place Bennerson, whose unofficial tally is just 48 short of Hansen's tally.
However, to get 50 votes, he would have to pull in over 25 percent of the absentee vote. His percentage of votes in the unofficial tally was less than 8 percent, so his chances don't look good.
Absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Sept. 11. The V.I. Election System allows 10 days for them to be received and then five more days to count them.
Sometimes absentee ballot counts do differ significantly from the general vote count for two reasons. The profile of the absentee voter is different from the general voter. Also, some candidates focus on reaching the absentee voter through special mailings.
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