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17 October 2012
Christine Scipio-O'Dean wins By Election
Second By Election of the year on St Helena
Christine Scipio-O'Dean wins by election on St Helena

Sherrilee Phillips, SHBC

At  approximately 8.25 pm on Wednesday 17 October, Christine Scipio-O'Dean secured the vacant seat on the Legislative Council for the East Constituency, after receiving a total of 101 votes (54.5%).  She will now serve just over a year before the next general election in November 2013.

Returning Officer, Gillian Francis once again managed proceedings.  Counting Officers, Sandra Sim and Alicia Thomas collectively tallied the yellow ballots declaring the first vote to Eric George who went on to receive a total of 54 (29%) of the votes with Lionel Williams receiving 30 (16%).

Just a few minutes into the count Scipio-O'Dean's victory was becoming apparent.  Commenting afterward she said, "I feel very nervous but I am looking forward to all the challenges ahead.  I know it is going to be a very bumpy ride but at the end of the day everyone in the community matters."

On this occasion 186 of the 955 eligible voters from the East took advantage of their democratic privilege.  "During the course of the day I had a feeling that the votes were going to be very low," Scipio-O'Dean told me, "but I had to try and keep positive and while they were calling their names half way through I could see, because I was keeping a tally myself, that I had the majority votes and that's when the nerves began to sink in.

"I'm pleased that everyone has come out and the results in the number of voters is very disappointing.  Obviously people are concerned or not happy and that's maybe the reason why they didn't come out.  I'm now glad it's all over."  Turnout for the by election in June was also low with 265 of 1209 constituents voting. 

"I don't get nervous at this sort of thing but I am disappointed, no doubt about that," said George.  "I'd like to thank all of my supporters who voted for me and I'm sorry it didn't go their way.  But otherwise I think there was a good atmosphere here and nobody bothered at all.  When they asked to be recounted, they said no."

I asked George if he had plans to run in November 2013?  "That's a bit far ahead for me, it depends how I feel and how my health is, I'll take it from there on the day."

Williams, who intends to rerun in the general election said, "I went around to all of the polling stations, from Jamestown all the way to Levelwood.  There aren't a lot of people coming out, the weather was bad and just 186 people; it's not many people for the whole of the constituency."

Returning Officer, Gillian Francis told me that the count had gone well. "There wasn't any need to do a recount, it was clear Christine Lillian Scipio-O'Dean had the majority vote and she has been duly elected."

At the conclusion of the count  ballot papers were sealed in envelops using a wax stamp.  "All the ballot papers and all of the papers today," commented Francis, "in connection with the poll will be put away and kept for six months just in case there's an election petition.  After six months then we destroy it all."



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