Election Day around Alaska - Must Read Alaska
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Election Day around Alaska

For most municipalities and boroughs in Alaska, Oct. 1 is Election Day. Turnout for these elections is typically abysmal, and in many places, the slate for school boards, city councils, and assemblies is thin, with uncontested races being the norm this year.

One race to watch is the Fairbanks mayor’s race between incumbent Jim Matherly and well-funded challenger and hardline Democrat Kathryn Dodge.

JUNEAU’S THREE-HEADED TAX IS ON THE BALLOT

Juneau voters will decide on three ballot initiatives as the city, in an effort to build a new 44,592-square-foot arts facility, proposes three intertwined tax measures to find funds for a new Juneau Arts and Cultural Center.

Conservatives have come out against this rearranging of the chairs on the ship’s deck whilst the budget tempest continues across Alaska, but those in favor of the arts center say that it will send a message to Gov. Michael Dunleavy that Juneau isn’t going his direction.


HOMER VOTES ON PLASTIC BAG BAN

The question on the ballot is quite simple: whether to amend city code to ban single-use plastic carryout bags, by prohibiting sellers from providing those bags under 2.5 millimeters thick.

It’s a yes-no question with no qualifiers for produce bags, meat or fish bags, or little bags for your pharmaceuticals and Homer art items or big bags for your dry-cleaning. Maybe they don’t do dry cleaning in Homer, but you get the drift — this is a vague ballot measure.



SITKA ALSO TO DECIDE ON PLASTIC BAG BAN

A much more detailed ballot measure is in front of Sitka voters, which explains all sorts of exemptions (bags for fish, pharmaceuticals, flowers, ice, etc and other exemptions, including bags for marijuana, naturally.) 



KENAI TO VOTE ON BOROUGH MANAGER FORM OF GOVERNMENT

The question for borough residents is: Shall the Kenai Peninsula Borough adopt a manager plan of government, where the chief administrative officer is a manager appointed by the assembly instead of the current form where the elected mayor runs the borough administration? This is a question for voters from an Assembly, some of whom do not like Mayor Charlie Pierce and would like to make him ceremonial.


KETCHIKAN TO DECIDE ON CANNABIS ON-SITE CONSUMPTION

The question for city residents of Ketchikan on Prop. 1 is whether to prohibit the use of marijuana in the same establishments in which it is sold. Chances are good this will fail. 


PALMER VOTERS TO DECIDE ON TERM LIMITS

Voters will be advising whether the Palmer City Council should consider enacting term limits for the mayor and council members. The vote is advisory.


BETHEL TO DECIDE ON POT BAN

Voters will decide whether the city will opt out of the state’s liberal commercial marijuana laws. The question is whether Bethel will prohibit importation, sales, cultivation, and testing of marijuana. Voters will also decide if the community will prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages with the exception of restaurants.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • School Board elections are today as well in some locals.

  • Has nothing to do with liking or not liking the Borough Mayor has to do with hiring someone to run the city in a non-partisan fashion. A City managers should have good writing and public speaking skills, knowledge of municipal and administrative laws and procedures and an understanding of management theory and practices as well as dispute resolution procedures. Really why even have a mayor its too political no matter what side you’re on.

  • This kind fears the light. This is why they hold these sorts of elections in October- when no one is expecting to vote, instead of Nov when everyone is. These seats and initiatives are the farm team for leftist politicians and policy. They build momentum when no one is paying attention. There is nothing random about it. The turnout for these elections is historically abysmal.. because they want it that way.

  • Yeah. Officially we were just informed this morning of the pending election. Good thing we were paying attention.

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