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Absentee Ballots Could Put DeJongh in Government House

Nov. 9, 2006 – Unofficial results from absentee votes show that gubernatorial candidate John deJongh could win the election without going into a runoff with Kenneth Mapp on Nov. 21.
The St. Thomas and St. Croix Boards of Elections have been counting absentee votes for the past two days, and as of 9:30 p.m. Thursday night, the numbers show deJongh still in the lead and inching forward to the magic 50-percent-plus-one-vote mark needed to win the governors race.
DeJongh failed to get the needed 50 percent in Tuesday general election by a mere 0.7 percent. He initially garnered 15, 914 votes and needs a bit more than 17,000 votes to win.
Thursday night, unofficial tallies showed that deJongh had 742 of the walk-in absentee votes, Mapp had 217, and Adlah Donastorg had 145 votes.
If all 1,900 of the absentee ballots the V.I. Election System says are out there are returned, deJongh would need to have at least 1,100 of them to cross the 50-percent-plus-one-vote threshold.
But deJongh still has challenges to face over the next 10 days. The absentee votes are made up of walk-in votes, mail-in votes, and provisional votes. Not all the votes will count.
There are going to be spoiled votes due to people marking their ballots incorrectly. For example, St. Thomas District Board of Elections Chairman Lawrence Boschulte said Thursday night that there were 13 spoiled walk-in votes in the St. Thomas-St. John District.
Also, there might be some provisional ballots that are invalidated because the voter might not officially be registered in the territory.
Finally, by law, the mail-in votes cannot be counted until 10 days after Tuesdays election, which is Nov. 17, and some of those might be invalidated.
The actual number of valid absentee votes will fluctuate, which means the total vote count could change one way or the other, and deJongh may still have to face a runoff election.
But according to the unofficial results so far, the percentages still show deJongh with a healthy lead, and well on his way to getting the required number of votes to win the election outright.
Boschulte said Thursday night that they had finished counting the walk-in votes and would start on the provisional votes Friday. The St. Croix District Board of Elections also said they had completed counting the walk-in votes.
"We should have a better picture by Saturday," said Boschulte.
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