Harrigan holding off Forde for 7th in vote
Published: September 19, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - V.I. Senate hopeful Justin Harrigan Sr. has a seemingly insurmountable lead over Jean Forde for the seventh-place spot in the Democratic primary with all but three ballots counted.
On Tuesday night, the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections counted 28 remaining walk-in absentee ballots and 48 mail-in absentee ballots from the Sept. 8 primary.
Three faxed-in ballots remained uncounted after candidate Yvonne Solomon Freeman challenged them. Freeman said the ballots should have been accompanied by an affidavit from the voters attesting to their legitimacy.
Though Freeman later withdrew her challenge, Board Chairwoman Alecia Wells said the Board could not decide on the question because it did not have a quorum. Only three Board members remained at the meeting when Freeman issued her challenge around 8:30 p.m.
"I just wasn't comfortable with what was going on," Freeman said.
But at this point the three ballots are unlikely to change the outcome of the primary. Harrigan widened his lead over Forde from four votes as of last week to seven votes Tuesday night, according to an unofficial tally.
Harrigan, Forde and sixth-place finisher Donald Cole were at the Elections office to watch the vote count. Cole saw his lead over Harrigan slip from 30 votes to 27 votes, but was never in serious jeopardy of missing the General Election ballot.
Only the top seven finishers in the Democratic primary are included on the General Election ballot.
Forde said he has noticed discrepancies between his numbers and those reported elsewhere. He said only the certified results will settle the election, but the process has highlighted the need for reform in the territory's elections system.
Wells said the Board would count the remaining ballots before certifying the election results Friday.