A sign marks the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Chambers as a vote center on Tuesday, Oct. 6. The municipal election was a by-mail election, but registered voters had the option of dropping off ballots in person at vote centers and ballot drop boxes. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

A sign marks the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Chambers as a vote center on Tuesday, Oct. 6. The municipal election was a by-mail election, but registered voters had the option of dropping off ballots in person at vote centers and ballot drop boxes. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Candidates, residents await results from by-mail election

With voting closed, the waiting begins.

While the coronavirus disrupted regular voting patterns, the excitement the candidates for Assembly and school board seats still expressed excitement.

“It’s a big day. I’m feeling good. I’m really hoping we see high turnout,” said District 1 incumbent Alicia Hughes-Skandijs in a phone interview. “We’re doing it this way for the first time, so I hope everyone gets their questions answered.”

Five seats, three on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly and two on the Juneau School District Board of Education, were up for grabs in this year’s election. Brian Holst and Martin Stepetin Sr. were in a noncompetitive race for two three-year terms on the school board. Alicia Hughes-Skandijs and Kenny Solomon-Gross ran for District 1’s three-year seat. Lacey Derr, Derek Dzinich, Robert Shoemake and Christine Woll sought District 2’s three-year seat. Maria Gladziszewski ran unopposed for a three-year areawide Assembly seat.

A by-mail election made it difficult to discern how robust turnout was on election day, but by 8:45 a.m., about 30 mask-clad voters had dropped off ballots at the Valley Library, election officials Kim Peterson and Jack Chenoweth said. They said the early going was slower than they expected since the week started off with a relative rush.

“Yesterday was a big day compared to what we had,” Peterson said, adding turnout could pick up as the day went on.

[Juneau man struck, killed in road near airport]

She has been helping to staff the vote center in the Valley since it opened in late September

Candidates have been at it even longer.

“It’s been a long road. I’ve learned so much. I’m glad it’s today,” Derr said in a phone interview. “I’m feeling good about things. I’ve had some great conversations with Juneau citizens.”

Some enjoyed conversation among candidates, too.

“I’m feeling very good. I’m feeling optimistic, just as enthusiastic about the process as when we started out. I’ve also tried my best to bring some new campaigning strategies to Juneau, especially just finishing an education on this topic,” Dzinich said in a phone interview. “In school, I was in Model UN, and I traveled to other schools to speak to debate. I really enjoyed the public debate forum with the other candidates.”

[Candidates share visions for Juneau in virtual forum]

While candidates were excited to run, most are equally excited to know the results of this year’s elections.

Voting centers and ballot boxes closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, and ballots needed to be postmarked no later than Oct. 6, and unofficial results are expected Friday, according to the city. Further work will then be done to count mailed ballots, and a second round of unofficial results will be available on Oct. 16, according to the city.

“I’m excited for it to be over and finding out what happens,” Woll said in a phone interview. “I think Friday will be… I’ll definitely have some anticipation on Friday. I think my team ran the best possible campaign we could, but we’ll see what the voters think.”

Many are looking forward to taking some time off from the campaign, like Solomon-Gross, who said he looked forward to getting some time away from his phone together with his wife.

His District 1 competitor is also looking forward to post-campaign life.

“I’ll be getting in touch with the volunteers and then taking the dogs on the walks they deserve,” Hughes-Skandijs said.

All candidates voiced their belief in the importance of an active electorate. Turnout numbers were not available at 5 p.m. Tuesday, but many voters cast ballots ahead of election day, according to city data.

As of late last week, about 23% of registered Juneau voters cast ballots. That’s over 70% of the total turnout for last year’s municipal election, which saw 31.4% of voters cast ballots. A surge of election day drop-offs could lead the by-mail election past that total.

“It wasn’t as important to me as a younger kid and as I get older, it got more important,” Shoemake said in a phone interview. “If you don’t elect the right people you don’t get the right laws and everything changes, and it’s like, what happened?”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

Due to pandemic, this year’s City and Borough of Juneau Municipal Election was a by-mail election. “I Voted” stickers were included in the ballots the city mailed to registered voters, but stickers and sanitizer were also present at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library vote center. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Due to pandemic, this year’s City and Borough of Juneau Municipal Election was a by-mail election. “I Voted” stickers were included in the ballots the city mailed to registered voters, but stickers and sanitizer were also present at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library vote center. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

More in News

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore docks in Juneau in October of 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for t​​he Week of April 22

Here’s what to expect this week.

The Hubbard, the newest vessel in the Alaska Marine Highway System fleet, docks at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal on April 18. It is generally scheduled to provide dayboat service between Juneau, Haines and Skagway. (Photo by Laurie Craig)
Ongoing Alaska Marine Highway woes are such that marketing to Lower 48 tourists is being scaled back

“We just disappoint people right now,” AMHS’ marine director says during online public forum Monday.

Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Senate considers plan that would allow teens to independently seek mental health care

Amendment by Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, would lower the age for behavioral health care to 16

Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton, speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, March 28, at the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
House approves tougher route for environmental protections on Alaska rivers, lakes

HB95 would require lawmakers approve any “Tier III” labeling, the highest level of federal protection.

Rep. Andi Story (left, wearing gray), Rep. Sara Hannan (center, wearing purple) and Sen. Jesse Kiehl (wearing suit) talk with constituents following a legislative town hall on Thursday at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
All three members of Juneau’s legislative delegation seeking reelection

Reps. Andi Story and Sara Hannan, and Sen. Jesse Kiehl unopposed ahead of June 1 filing deadline

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, April 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The “Newtok Mothers” assembled as a panel at the Arctic Encounter Symposium on April 11 discuss the progress and challenges as village residents move from the eroding and thawing old site to a new village site called Mertarvik. Photographs showing deteriorating conditions in Newtok are displayed on a screen as the women speak at the event, held at Anchorage’s Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Relocation of eroding Alaska Native village seen as a test case for other threatened communities

Newtok-to-Mertarvik transformation has been decades in the making.

Bailey Woolfstead, right, and her companion Garrett Dunbar examine the selection of ceramic and wood dishes on display at the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on behalf of the Glory Hall at Centennial Hall on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Empty Bowls provides a full helping of fundraising for the Glory Hall

Annual soup event returns to Centennial Hall as need for homeless shelter’s services keeps growing.

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon and her husband Greg. (Photo courtesy of the City and Borough of Juneau)
Greg Weldon, husband of Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon, killed in motorcycle accident Sunday morning

Accident occurred in Arizona while auto parts store co-owner was on road trip with friend

Most Read