There was near-record turnout for last year’s municipal election, and many voters turned in ballots early (KCAW/Berett Wilber)

The filing period to run for municipal office opened last week. Two seats on the Sitka Assembly will be up for grabs in the election this fall, along with two school board seats.

Municipal Clerk Sara Peterson joined KCAW’s Brooke Schafer for the Morning Interview to discuss what’s required of those interested in running for local office.

The first task? Filling out paperwork. 

“It’s not a huge packet,” Peterson says. “It looks a little intimidating to folks, but rest assured it’s not.”

To qualify for an assembly seat, candidates need to be registered voters in Sitka for a calendar year prior to the election. Those interested in filing for a school board seat must be registered Sitka voters for one month immediately prior to the election. Peterson says candidates can contact her for a starter-packet. Then they’ll need to gather signatures.

“They are required to obtain at least 25 signatures from registered voters in Sitka,” Peterson says. “I always encourage them to get more than 25. Just on the chance that someone you know, maybe thought they were registered, but not.” 

Serving as an elected official isn’t easy work, and Peterson knows this first hand- as part of her work, she drafts the agendas and records the minutes for all assembly meetings, so she’s seen the pros and cons of being an elected official in Sitka. She says she hopes people will consider the positives that go hand-in-hand with government service.  

“The change that you can be a part of, and to make Sitka this great place that we live in. It’s a good reminder for all of us,” she says. “There is good, it is challenging. There’s a lot of time involved, but it’s rewarding.” 

So far, only one person has filed to run– incumbent assembly member Kevin Mosher filed to run for re-election last Thursday. The filing period to run for local office closes on Friday, August 6 at 5 p.m. Sitka’s municipal election is Tuesday, October 5.