Precinct volunteer Jan Love (right) signs over ballots for Precinct 1 to Municipal Clerk Sara Peterson (KCAW/Rose)

Unofficial results are in for Sitka’s municipal election. On Tuesday (10/1/19), voters returned two familiar candidates to their local assembly, unseated a third, and voiced a resounding “no” for a plastic bag ban on the ballot.

Incumbent Kevin Knox and former assembly member Thor Christianson received the lion’s share of the votes for two open seats on the Sitka Assembly — Knox led with 1140, and Christianson with 948.

View the unofficial results here

Knox is finishing up his first three-year-term on the assembly this year. He was waiting in the audience when the results came in at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

“The priority right now for myself and some of the other assembly members is to move forward on our administrator hire, get that established and start providing vision for our future direction,” said Knox. “I’m only one voice at the table obviously, and one vote in the end, but I really do hope to work with this group and move forward on a unified vision so we can start doing some good work for the community.”

Christianson previously served on the assembly from 1998-2004 and 2010 to 2013. KCAW spoke with Christianson by phone late Tuesday night after ballots had been counted. 

“I’m feeling pretty good, on one hand. On the other hand, I’m feeling a a bit daunted. I’ve gotta get to work now. I think the first thing we need to do is address city staffing. I know the assembly already agreed to put an offer out for a new city administrator,” he said. “We’ve got to get our house in order so we can deal with the threats to the city coming from outside.

Coming in third, with 579 votes, was another former assembly member, Ben Miyasato. Newcomer Steve Lee received 483 votes, and incumbent Aaron Bean was unseated after one term on the assembly, receiving just 258 votes. 

And while voters went with two known entities for the assembly, they voted in a newcomer for Sitka School board. Voters again passed over 17 year incumbent Cass Pook in favor of Paul Rioux. Rioux received 1142 votes to Pook’s 616. 

And voters weren’t in favor of a plastic bag ban, by a pretty wide margin. 1099 Sitkans voted against Prop 1, which would have banned retailers from supplying single use plastic bags. 739 voted in favor of the ban.

Michelle Putz led the charge in getting the proposition on the ballot. 

“I’m a little sad. We certainly would have liked to have seen it passed, and pass by a huge margin,” said Putz. “But I’m just glad that we’ve got a real conversation started about plastic and is there too much and what are ways that we can deal with it. So it’s a good conversation for us to have and continue.” 

Overall, 1857 ballots were cast in person on Tuesday. And they still need to count just over 400 absentee and early votes. The tallies will remain unofficial until they’re certified by the Sitka Assembly.