Today (10-04-16) is the municipal election and voter turnout in Sitka is high. As of 4 p.m., both Precinct 1 and Precinct 2 were reporting a ballot count over 600. This time last year, the ballot count was half that.
City Clerk Sara Peterson reported that of the 534 absentee ballots were issued and as of 5 p.m. today, 501 were returned. This is a huge uptick from last year; the city issued 277 absentee ballots in 2015 and 246 absentee ballots in 2014.
Both precincts saw steady traffic with bursts of high volume throughout the day, lines sometimes stretching out the front door. Voters and election officials alike credit the high turnout to a divisive ballot ballot question and a true contest for municipal office.
On Sitka’s ballot are five candidates for Assembly for two seats, two candidates for school board for one seat, and three candidates for mayor. Proposition 1, if passed, would raise the cap on the mill rate by two mills.
Mary Beth Palof drove by Precinct 2 at 8 a.m. this morning. “There were like 8, 9 cars and I thought, “Way to go, whoever is here. Getting it done before work.”
Palof returned later with her husband, Dan Palof, to vote.
KCAW: Why do you think so many people are coming out this election?
Mary Beth Palof: I think they care. With the letters to the editor in the paper about Proposition 1…
Dan Palof: The Assembly, the School Board.
Mary Beth Palof: A new mayor. It’s a lot of stuff that’s important to the community.
Precinct 1 votes at Grace Harbor Church on Halibut Point Road across from SeaMart. Precinct 2 votes at St. Gregory’s on Lincoln Street. Polls close at 8 pm. Absentee ballots and question ballots will be counted on Friday (10-07-17).
Tune Raven Radio at 8 p.m. tonight to hear live election results for Sitka, as well as Angoon, Kake, Pelican, Port Alexander, and Tenakee Springs. Visit our 2016 Election Hub to learn more about Sitka’s candidates and the question on the ballot.