At age 83, Orcas Islander votes for first time in Presidential election

Tony Ayer signals his satisfaction at the ballot box on Orcas Island.
Early voter turnout is heavy around the region, in advance of the
Nov. 3 election date. (Lin McNulty photo © 2020)

By Lin McNulty / The Orcasonian

— Born in New York City, Tony Ayer moved to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, at age eight. After going to school in the States, he returned to St. Croix where he spent 75 years.

All U.S. Virgin Islanders are citizens of the U.S. and pay the same federal taxes that all other U.S. residents are obligated to pay; but they do not have the privilege of voting for the President and Vice President of the U.S. They have a non-voting representative in the House of Representatives, but no representation in the Senate. (The same is true for Puerto Rico and the other territories, such as Guam, the Marianas and American Samoa.)

As a teenager he would visit his father here on Orcas at Dolphin Bay. After honeymooning on Orcas 40 years ago, Tony and his wife, Nancy, would commute several times a year back and forth from St. Croix, where he operated his own real estate business; they knew they would eventually retire here. After his father died the estate was sold and they acquired property in Olga adjoining the Obstruction Pass Park. (It was here, you may remember, while digging out the swamp, that the discovery was made of a 14,000-year-old Bison antiquus skeleton which now resides in the Orcas Historical Museum. This find was one of the top 10 scientific archaeological discoveries in the world according to Discovery Magazine in 2009.)

Tony is now 83 years old. This weekend, for the first time in his life, he had the honor to cast his ballot in the U.S. Presidential election. He has waited a long time for this!

(Ed.: Remember your first time voting? Tell us all about it — read managing editor Mike Sato’s recollection to spark your own memory.)