St. John Tradewinds News

Early voting kicks off special election

ST. JOHN — The special election for a seat in the 32nd Legislature is officially under way. It began March 29 on the third floor at the Marketplace.

Early voting has been around in the Virgin Islands since 2014. It caught on slowly on St. John, but on the second day of voting St. John this week poll judge Gwen Hyndman said traffic picked up.

Eighteen ballots were cast on Wednesday, she said, on Thursday, almost 30.

“Even in the General Election, on the last day we had about 50 or something. The other days it was three or four,” Hyndman said.

But while the enthusiasm for early voting seemed to grow, the poll judge said she still expects to see most ballots cast on April 8. “Some people like voting on the day itself,” she said.

One final day of early voting will be held on Saturday, officials said. To view the election calendar, click here

Over Wednesday and Thursday, hundreds of voters in the St. Thomas-St. John District showed their enthusiasm for the process by casting early votes in advance of the April 8 Special Election.

Elections officials were at first doubtful that a period could be allowed for those who like to vote at the office of the Election Systems in Sugar Estate.

By the end of the second day, more than 800 people cast ballots in the district to fill a vacant seat in the 32nd Legislature.

The special election was set by proclamation of Gov. Kenneth Mapp after one of the candidates who won in the November General Election was enjoined from taking the oath of office in January by the VI Supreme Court.

That candidate, now Senator-elect Kevin Rodriquez, has filed two court challenges in an attempt to compel Legislative leaders to seat him. In the first ruling, a federal judge on St. Thomas said there were issues related to the Rodriquez election that had to be resolved, but the court could not act without violating Constitutional doctrines.

The most recent case is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

That has not kept Election Supervisor Caroline Fawkes from moving quickly to put the election logistics together in less than eight weeks.

Thirteen candidates appear on the ballot.

To view the sample ballot, visit www.vivote.gov.