A completed ballot is dropped into the ballot drop box in the Don D. Statter Harbor parking lot on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

A completed ballot is dropped into the ballot drop box in the Don D. Statter Harbor parking lot on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

CBJ preps for upcoming election: City officials share what residents can expect for this coming Oct. 4 municipal election

The who, what, where and when for this year’s annual city election.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated locations for in-person voting as location for in-person registration. The article has been updated to reflect that. The Juneau Empire regrets the error.

While unprecedented statewide elections in Alaska have captured a lot of attention, the City and Borough of Juneau is preparing for its own election coming up in just under six weeks.

The city recently shared a news release with information for voters ahead of Election Day, and noted a new change to this year’s election proceedings. Instead of having the by-mail/hybrid election having to be processed with the Municipality of Anchorage as it had been for the past two years, Juneau will now be able to conduct the entire process at the new CBJ Ballot Processing Center that has been in the works for the past year.

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Beth McEwen, the CBJ city clerk, said in the previous two years, Juneau has provided a mail-in ballot option due to safety concerns during the height of the pandemic and to facilitate mail ballots, the city has sent the ballots to Anchorage for two years to process the results because Juneau did not have a processing center.

In 2020 the ballots were mailed directly from voters to a post office in Anchorage, but she said in 2021 the city decided in order to ensure the ballots were all accounted for it set up a ballot box in Juneau instead. Then, she and another official flew to Anchorage with what amounted to 17 boxes of ballots and processed the ballots there.

With the decision to continue the by-mail/hybrid election into the 2020 municipal election, the Assembly gave the OK for the city to set aside money in the budget to fund a partial reconstruction of a CBJ-owned warehouse into a new CBJ Ballot Processing Center.

McEwen said that for the last year, she and contractors have worked together to create the new processing center in Juneau.

“It was pretty involved and intensive, so we’re pretty happy to have it all happening here in Juneau,” she said.

She said she is happy that this election will be conducted entirely in Juneau using the new CBJ Ballot Processing Center, and said that there will be more reminders and information to come of what to expect and as there are a few other things that voters should note before the Oct. 4 election.

McEwen said now is the “perfect time” to get registered to vote or add any updates to information as the deadline for voter registration is fast approaching on Sept. 4.

Assembly OKs 3 initiatives to appear on local ballots

“A lot of people waited until the last minute at our voting centers last year and some of them waited over an hour because there were a lot of people in line to vote,” she said. “We have those vote centers open for two whole weeks, and probably a week and a half of those weeks there was never a line so don’t wait till Election Day to come.”

Meredith Thatcher, the public information officer for the CBJ, said if people want more information they can reach out to the city clerk’s office.

“We want people to take advantage of as many options as possible,” she said. Thatcher said the city encourages people to get their votes in early for the extra certainty that their vote will be counted and not be met with any last-minute issues. Last October, election officials had to reject more than 700 ballots in large part because of problems with the U.S. Postal Service. That number of votes would not have altered the outcome of any of the races, but it drew the ire of city officials.

The 2022 ballot will feature an election to fill three Assembly seats along with two spots on the Juneau School District Board of Education. All the candidates who filed during the period are up for reelection in their current seats and all remain uncontested at the end of the filing period according to the list of certified candidates on the city’s website.

No new faces or competition for this upcoming municipal elections

Along with the seats, residents will also vote on three ballot initiatives that seek voter approval on a five-year extension of the temporary 1% sales tax the city already has in place to fund multiple projects, a decision on whether to approve $35 million in bonds to go toward funding the construction of a new City Hall and lastly for voters to consider if the city should allocate $6.6 million in bonds toward funding the construction and equipment of park improvements at city parks.

Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

Key times, dates and places

Election Day: Tuesday, Oct. 4

Final day to register: Sunday, Sept. 4

In-person registration: Municipal Clerk’s Office, All three Juneau Public Libraries, State of Alaska Division of Elections – Region I Office and Zach Gordon Youth Center.

By-mail voting: Ballots will be mailed Tuesday, Sept. 13 to voters on file. Ballots can be returned to one of the two Juneau Vote Centers, to one of two secure drop boxes or via the USPS. (Must be mailed no later than Election Day).

Vote Centers: City Hall Assembly Chambers open weekdays Sept. 19- Oct. 4. Mendenhall Valley Public Library open Sept. 19- Oct. 4, Saturdays, Sept. 24 and Oct. 1. Varying hours.

Secure Ballot Drop Boxes: Auke Bay-Statter Harbor boat launch parking Lot, Douglas Library/Fire Hall Community Building. Will be available 24/7 from 10 a.m., Sept. 19 and locked 8 p.m. Oct. 4.

Temporary address voting applications: Must be received by the city clerk’s office no later than Sept. 27.

Deputy City Clerk Di Cathcart collects ballots from the ballot drop box at Don D. Statter Harbor the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 19. Ballot drop boxes could factor into future municipal elections, too, depending on direction from the assembly. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Deputy City Clerk Di Cathcart collects ballots from the ballot drop box at Don D. Statter Harbor the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 19. Ballot drop boxes could factor into future municipal elections, too, depending on direction from the assembly. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

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