Nov. 5, 2002 – By about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, 217 voters had punched the little buttons turning to red their choice on the voting machines at Addelita Cancryn Junior High School.
It was a remarkably high turnout for that hour, elections officers said.
And a remarkably quiet one. A half hour earlier, about 30 persons had been lined up outside the school cafeteria waiting their turn to vote. Some said they had been there since 7:15 a.m.
Election officials geared up for about 38,000 of the territory's approximately 54,000 registered voters to turn out Tuesday, with Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr. saying he expected a heavy turnout. If early voters were an indication, it appeared that their projections would be true.
At Addelita Cancryn, which now is the voting site for what were once three separate polling places, the lines were moving smoothly by 10:30 a.m., with voters joking with one another in an almost jovial atmosphere. And the waiting time was down to almost nothing by noon.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull cast the 531st vote at Cancryn around 1 p.m. Dressed in a bright orange sport shirt, a white baseball cap and a pair of neatly pressed jeans, the governor said he thought things, for him, were going "Fine — in fact, very fine."
Asked about a 30-minute paid political commentary by Attorney General Iver Stridrion that aired on a St. Thomas radio station on Monday, the governor said, "I was so busy, I didn't even hear it." Turnbull said he had nothing to do with Stridiron's broadcast, which maligned gubernatorial candidate John de Jongh. Stridiron said he paid for the air time himself.
There was no rancor among the electioneering enthusiasts set up to plump for their candidates outside the Cancryn gates, however. Campaigners had set their booths up in what appeared to be perfect harmony, with none of the traditional "in your face" behavior to be seen.
A federal judge's decision on Monday allowed the campaigners to set up 25 feet from polling places, instead of having to stay 1,000 feet away, as the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections had decreed for the district earlier.
Campaigners at other polling places similarly seemed a more benign lot than other elections recall. At Charlotte Amalie High School, the street was thronged with supporters, but polite ones.
One of a contingent of youngsters assembled by Sen. Carlton Dowe's booth held her candidate's card out to a motorist with a smile and the comment, "Hi! We ain' harassing you. Just vote!"
At Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, long lines early in the day, like those at Cancryn, forced some would-be voters to leave after and an hour and a half or more of waiting, in the hope of returning later. "I have to get back to work," Anne Mahoney said, reluctantly leaving Cancryn.
At Cancryn, there was a complaint by one disgruntled voter, Jose Rojas, of "chaos" early in the day regarding who should stand in which line according to their last names.
Rojas, wearing a de Jongh/Arnold T-shirt, stood with senior citizen Dorita Weeks, who said she had just cast her ballot for the Turnbull/Richards team. Although they were joking with each other about their opposing choices, they agreed on one thing: concern about the lack of police presence. "They should be here to direct the senior citizens into a separate line," Rojas said.
Election judge Marie Turnbull said there are no special provisions for senior citizens, only for disabled persons. At Eudora Kean, however, seniors were being moved to the head of the line. And there was a police presence at Cancryn. Four officers were observed sitting in the rear of the cafeteria drinking coffee.
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