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Election Officials Prepared for High Turnout

Nov. 1, 2004 – More V.I. residents could cast ballots Tuesday than voted in the governor's race of 2002.
"We're hoping for a 70 percent turnout," Lawrence Boschulte, chairman of the Board of Election, said Monday.
Election Supervisor John Abramson Jr. said 50,731 individuals have registered to vote — 25,077 in St, Croix; 23,895 in St. Thomas; and 1,759 in St. John.
If the 70 percent figure is reached it will mean about 35,500 voters would cast ballots. Just 35,000 residents voted in 2002.
Boschulte said that the staff of the V.I. Election System is prepared to attend to voters concerns right from the 7 a.m. start of this year's General Election.
Nationwide there is concern about the potential for voter fraud and in the Virgin Islands critics are still concerned about voting machines, first used in the primary, that do not leave a paper record.
(See " Machines Ready to Take Your Vote, Leave No Trail").
One change in this year's process resulted from the board's decision to stop the use of the Anna's Retreat Community Center and the E. Benjamin Oliver Elementary School on St. Thomas as polling sites.
Individuals who were registered to vote at the two sites in the previous election have been redirected to the Curriculum Center in Anna's Retreat.
"The main reason for that was the long lines at the Anna's Retreat Center," Boschulte said. He added that the Curriculum Center is larger and air-conditioned and voters will be able to sit while they wait to cast their votes.
Boschulte said voters will be able to park in the lot of the Seventh Day Adventist School across the street, but encouraged them to park in the Four Winds parking lot if those lots were filled instead of parking along the roadside.
Although Boschulte still expects to have lines at the Curriculum Center, he said the waiting period should not be very long — 15 to 30 minutes.
Boschulte said this is good compared to some jurisdictions in the United States, where voters will make a choice between President George Bush and opponent John Kerry on Tuesday. South Carolina, for example, has waiting periods of two hours, Boschulte said, adding he was given that information during a training workshop from the National Election System.
"We've arranged a system for the voters to use different doors for entering and exiting at the Curriculum Center to help speed up the process," Boschulte said.
He advised the best time for casting votes was between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Polling sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for voters.
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