Supporters for mayoral candidates Beth Weldon, Saralyn Tabachnick and Assembly candidate Michelle Bonnet Hale wave signs at the corner of 10th Street and Egan Drive on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, to remind drivers to vote in the Municipal Election Tuesday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Supporters for mayoral candidates Beth Weldon, Saralyn Tabachnick and Assembly candidate Michelle Bonnet Hale wave signs at the corner of 10th Street and Egan Drive on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, to remind drivers to vote in the Municipal Election Tuesday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Early voting numbers surpass 2017 total

Mayoral race, statewide elections might be reasons for uptick in ballots

If early voting numbers are any indication, turnout could be on the rise during this election season.

This past Thursday, early voting numbers surpassed the total of early ballots cast in the 2017 municipal election, City and Borough of Juneau Clerk Beth McEwen said. McEwen didn’t have the total number early ballots finalized, but the number of early ballots cast in 2017 was just shy of 1,100. Early voting stations were set up at City Hall and at the Mendenhall Mall Annex starting in mid-September.

McEwen said the city has sent out twice as many ballots by mail and fax this year as it sent out last year. There were 106 ballots cast by mail or fax in the 2017 election. As a whole in 2017, voter turnout was 28.2 percent. It was a decrease from the 33.5 percent of registered voters who cast a ballot in the 2016 city election.

McEwen said there are a couple probable reasons for this uptick in early ballots. First, she said, a mayoral election tends to bring people out. Secondly, the Nov. 6 general election might have people more politically minded.

“Anytime we have a state election year, people are more thinking along the lines of elections,” McEwen said.

Lastly, McEwen said this year’s crowded field of candidates seems to be very active on the campaign trail and getting their names out to the community.

Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Those who are unsure of their voting place can call the Polling Place Locator at 1-888-383-8683 or go to the city’s election site to find out.

“We’ve had a lot of elections in Alaska and nationwide that one vote really does make a difference,” McEwen said. “We want everyone who is registered to get out and vote.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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