Juneau’s municipal election is on Oct. 4 this year. It will be the city’s third since switching to a mostly by-mail format.
There have been some changes since last year. For one, there are new voter precincts.
City Clerk Beth McEwen is the local election official. She told the Juneau Assembly on Monday that complications from the state’s redistricting process meant city staff didn’t have enough time to integrate the new precinct maps with the city’s systems. That means results won’t be broken down by precinct.
“You will see area-wide results and not at that granular level,” she said.
McEwen says the new precincts will be squared away in time for the next local election.
Another change is that a new ballot counting center is opening right here in Juneau. For the first two by-mail elections, McEwen flew to Anchorage to use a secure facility there to process Juneau’s ballots.
New voters must register by Sept. 4 to be able to participate in the election. If you are already registered but your address has changed, you should update your mailing address by Sunday to get a ballot by mail.
After voting, there are three ways to get those ballots back to election officials.
Voters can return them by mail with postage. The city encourages getting the post office to hand-cancel that postage with a legible date on the postmark. Hundreds of ballots in last year’s election were rejected because of postmarking issues.
Ballots can also be placed in secure drop boxes that will be available 24 hours a day, beginning Sept. 19. There will be one drop box available at the Douglas Library/Fire Hall Community Building and one at Statter Harbor.
Finally, ballots can be delivered in person to vote centers at City Hall and the Mendenhall Valley Public Library during business hours.
Barring write-in candidates, all five incumbents seeking reelection to the Juneau Assembly and Juneau Board of Education were unopposed as of Aug. 30. For write-in candidates to be valid, they must file paperwork by Sept. 27.
But the ballot will have four local ballot questions. Voters will be asked to:
- Repeal a mandate to disclose real estate sales prices;
- Authorize the city to borrow up to $35 million to build a new city hall;
- Authorize the city to borrow up to $6.6 million for parks projects; and
- Renew 1% of the city’s sales tax rate for five more years, with the revenue earmarked for city infrastructure and special projects.