Dukes County ballot certification delayed

Dukes County voters will need to wait a bit longer for their ballots to be certified. — Rich Saltzberg

Martha’s Vineyard and Gosnold voters will need to wait a bit longer for their ballots to be certified, according to Dukes County Clerk George Davis. 

After the state elections, Davis told The Times once the ballots were tallied by the town clerks, register of probate Daphne DeVries and a judge from Probate and Family Court would join him as the Dukes County board of examiners to certify the votes. These ballots would then be sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office for another round of certification. 

Additionally, both the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and the Dukes County Commission had one seat available for write-in vote candidates. In a previous story, Secretary of the Commonwealth spokesperson Debra O’Malley said an open position goes to “whoever gets the most [collective votes]” for write-in candidates. 

The board’s plan was to meet on the first Wednesday of December, but had to reschedule to Dec. 21 because Davis did not receive all of the ballots.

“I’ve got most of them, but not all of them,” Davis said, who is waiting on numbers from Gosnold, which needs to make corrections to its form, and West Tisbury, where there is a personal reason for the delay.

The ballot certification will be backtracked to Dec. 7 once it’s done, according to Davis. 

Davis said sometimes the town clerks send the numbers to the Secretary of the Commonwealth office directly as well. However, these would not be certified until the board finished its process. 

William Rosenberry of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s elections division told The Times results for either commission are “not reported” to his office, unlike other positions such as sheriff or attorney general. Rosenberry said commissioners for the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and Dukes County Commission are certified locally, so the division just acts as “custodians” for copies of these results it receives. “We just print the ballots,” Rosenberry said. 

Although the certification process is incomplete, Aquinnah select board member Juli Vanderhoop told the Times on Tuesday that she heard from various town clerks that she was “by far” the write-in candidate who received the most votes for the county commission. “Everyone seems to think I was the winner, with the most votes,” Vanderhoop said. 

Vanderhoop said she would be “happy to serve once more,” adding that a number of people come to her since she is a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) while serving on multiple boards. Serving on the Dukes County Commission would be new territory for her, addressing issues beyond Aquinnah.

Additionally, Vanderhoop said, “the example I’m trying to serve is I can offer mentorship to other minority people.” Vanderhoop hopes more individuals from minority communities join boards and committees to have their voices heard, and she wants to help those who aim for this. 

“I think that’s really important,” she said.