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Friday, May 17, 2024
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ABSENTEE VOTES COULD SWING SENATE SEATS

Unofficial results of last week's election could change considerably come Nov. 17, when all absentee ballots are counted. And it isn't just the races between Vargrave Richards and Raymond "Usie" Richards on St. Croix and George Goodwin and Lorraine Berry on St. Thomas.
Enough absentee ballots are out that they could conceivably change some of the other players as well.
Supervisor of Elections John Abramson said Tuesday a total of 1,157 absentee ballots were issued, 478 on St. Croix (250 mailed and 228 walk-ins) and 679 in the St Thomas-St John district (437 by mail and 242 picked up in person).
"We usually get back about 80 percent of the ballots we send out," Abramson said.
On St. Thomas, Goodwin snagged the seventh and last district seat with an unofficial 4,998 votes. Berry was close behind with 4,883. Berry traditionally does well with absentee voters and could easily win enough of them this year to surpass Goodwin — although the two share many of the same constituents so their absentee count may be close as well.
Less likely but also possible is that Berry and Goodwin could prove so popular with absentee voters that they would edge out Norma Samuel, now in the No. 6 slot. With 679 votes available — or even using the figure for 80 percent of that number, 543 — Samuel's unofficial count of 5,115 votes is statistically vulnerable. If Berry collects 543 absentee votes and Samuel only half that amount, Berry could overtake Samuel with 5,426 votes to 5,386.
On St. Croix, the Richards cousins are tied in the unofficial count, each with 3,936. Most observers are looking at the absentee count simply as a tie-breaker. The No. 6 vote-getter, Adelbert "Bert" Bryan, appears a safe distance from the last two: At 4,323 in the unofficial tally he is a full 387 votes ahead, or more than the total number of absentee votes likely to come in under the 80 percent scenario.
However, the candidate in the No. 9 slot, Luther Renee, is within striking distance. At 3,917 he is just 19 votes behind the two Richards. If he does considerably better than both of them in the absentee counting, he could s1ip ahead — and into the 24th Legislature.

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