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Watlington Gets Most Votes in Light Turnout for Constitutional Convention Delegates on St. Thomas-St. John

June 12, 2007 — Hoping for at least a 40-percent turnout at the polls, Board of Elections members said they were disappointed when less than 20 percent of registered voters in the St. Thomas-St. John district participated in Tuesday's special election for the Constitutional Convention.
Only 5,731 out of a possible 28,049 registered voters showed up at polling stations on the two islands, according to numbers provided by the territory's Elections System. While popular voting spots such as the Curriculum Center and Joseph Gomez Elementary School show voter numbers in the high hundreds, many sites did not top a 300-voter count.
Throughout the day, many stations, such as Addelita Cancryn Junior High School and Joseph Sibilly Elementary School, were sparsely attended, with a small influx of voters showing up only at peak times. While Ulla F. Muller Elementary School boasted a steady trickle of voters, Elections' employees at the site predicted that turnout numbers would not top 200.
"It's definitely not going to be the same kind of numbers we saw during the general election," said Elections' judge Francis Wenner.
Despite the dismal numbers, however, Elections' offices on St. Thomas were abuzz with excitement on Tuesday evening as the first set of cartridges brought in from the polls showed some clear winners for the district's delegate race. At-large candidates were a bit harder to predict, however. While Arturo Watlington Jr. proved to be top vote getter, second-place numbers alternated between former Sen. Craig Barshinger and attorney Nandi Sekou.
By the end of the evening, final unofficial results released by the Elections System placed Barshinger as the second at-large delegate for St. Thomas-St. John with a total of 2,732 votes, compared to Sekou's 2,420. Watlington never relinquished the top slot, pulling in 4,065 votes in the at-large race.
Barshinger said he is "honored" to have been selected as one of the at-large candidates and "excited" to begin the process of drafting a local constitution.
"I know personally most of the candidates that have been elected this evening, and they are a balanced and capable group of individuals," he said. "I believe that the 30 of us will succeed in creating a document that will be ratified in 2008."
Unofficial results also put Myron Jackson in the top spot for the district delegate race, with a total of 2,546 votes. In a close second was former Gov. Charles W. Turnbull — also a delegate in the past four Constitutional Conventions — with a total 2,482 votes.
Speaking earlier on Tuesday, Turnbull said his primary focus is drafting a document that would grant "equal rights to all people of the territory," instead of spending time trying to differentiate between native and non-native Virgin Islanders.
"What we have to remember is that the Virgin Islands is still an unincorporated territory and, as such, we don't have the ability to amend the constitution we currently have, which is the Revised Organic Act," he said. "So we all now have to work together, listen to one another and compromise in order to be able to change that."
St. John candidate Alecia Wells filled the third district-delegate spot, pulling in a total of 2,186 votes.
Here are the results:
At-Large Delegates
St. Thomas-St. John
Arturo Watlington Jr.: 4,065 votes
Craig Barshinger (St. John): 2,732 votes
St. Croix
Adelbert M. Bryan: 4,841 votes
Gerard Luz James II: 3,555 votes
St. Thomas-St. John District Delegates
Myron Jackson: 2,546 votes
Charles W. Turnbull: 2,482 votes
Alecia Wells (St. John): 2,186 votes
Lawrence "Larry" Sewer: 2,096 votes
Lois Hassell- Habtes: 2,082 votes
Clement "Cain" Magras: 2,015 votes
Elsie V. Thomas-Trotman (St. John): 1,890 votes
Stedmann Hodge Jr.: 1,747 votes
Thomas K. Moore: 1,695 votes
Francis Jackson: 1,680 votes
Mario Francis: 1,500 votes
Wilma Marsh Monsanto: 1, 499 votes
Lisa Williams: 1, 378 votes
St. Croix District Delegates
Dr. Eugene A. Petersen: 2,856 votes
Michael Thurland: 2,323 votes
Claire L. Roker: 2,094 votes
Rena Brodhurst: 1,894 votes
Doug Capdeville: 1,822 votes
Arnold M. Golden: 1,794 votes
Richard Schrader, Jr.: 1,775 votes
Gerard Marlow Emanuel: 1,588 votes
Mary L. Moorhead: 1,548 votes
Kendall "Seigo" Petersen: 1,504 votes
Violet Anne Golden: 1,498 votes
Robert "Bobby" Schuster: 1,479 votes
Douglas Brady: 1,457 votes
Election results can still be altered by the counting of absentee and provisional ballots. According to St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections member Lorna A.C. Thomas, about 132 walk-in and absentee ballots have already been collected. However, another 27 mail-in absentee ballots still have not come into the Elections System, she said.
Though a date has not yet been determined, Board of Elections members have 10 days to begin counting the outstanding ballots.
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