The rain pouring down Tuesday morning didn’t seem to stop Juneau residents from pouring into vote centers across the capital city to cast their ballots for the 2023 City and Borough of Juneau municipal election.
In this year’s election voters will be deciding on whether or not to OK $27 million in bond debt to fund the construction of a new City Hall, along with electing candidates to fill four Assembly seats and two school board seats.
Voting will conclude later this evening when vote centers and drop boxes close at 8 p.m., and after that is when the official ballot count will begin. According to CBJ Clerk Beth McEwen, preliminary results are expected to be announced by the city shortly after at about 10-11 p.m., but the certified count is still two weeks out, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 17.
Because it is a by-mail election, ballots postmarked by Tuesday will still be processed in the days after. The city will release updates to the count as time nears the certification.
At the voting centers
Leading up to Tuesday, thousands of voters have cast their ballots by mail or dropbox throughout the past two-week send-in period. According to Shelly Mangusso, a poll worker at the City Hall voter center, a steady flood of voters have been making their way to the downtown voter center as well on Tuesday.
Mangusso said the first voters arrived to cast their ballots right at 7 a.m. and since then there had been a steady flow of people coming to the center. As of 9 a.m. poll workers said about 30 people dropped off ballots and 10 people voted in person.
Mangusso said Monday was the busiest day in the days leading up to Election Day, with more than 70 people dropping off ballots and over 30 people voting in person. The group said they expect traffic to pick up significantly after 5 p.m. Tuesday when the typical work day ends.
John Chenoweth, a poll worker at the Mendenhall Library voter center, said at about noon turnout at the library seemed to be much higher than last year on Election Day.
“I think we’re doing better — people are understanding that they shouldn’t wait until the last minute, which is a plus for everybody,” he said. “It’s been generally smooth.”
Chenoweth said in the weeks leading up to Election Day, the center received a total of 1,119 ballots — including both dropped off and votes in person. He said he anticipated traffic to pick up later in the evening.
What voters are saying
Juneau resident Michael Beasley stopped by the Assembly Chambers to cast his ballot early Tuesday morning. Beasley said he would be voting for the four candidates backed by campaign group Save Juneau and voting against the City Hall bond. He said he’d like to see new faces on the Assembly.
“I’m going to let my voice be my voice,” he said. “I pay a lot in property taxes and I’m voting for new people all around.”
Jessica Petty and Kayla Luhrs, both residents who casted their ballots at the Mendenhall Library voter center Tuesday afternoon, differed from Beasley in their decisions this election. Both Petty and Luhrs said they would be voting in favor of the new City Hall ballot proposition.
“Barbies vote for a new City Hall — Barbies need a nice new City Hall,” Luhrs said. “I love going to City Hall and I’d love to go to a nicer City Hall. Heck to the heck yes.”
Petty said she voted for all female Assembly members this election. She said it’s important to have female representation in local office and was happy to see the wide range of candidates to choose from.
”Representation is important,” she said. “We’ve just got to get out there and make sure that we’re getting in there more and more as females.”
Petty also said she voted for David Noon on the Assembly, admitting she was a bit biased because he was once her professor.
Luhrs agreed about the important of female representation. She said Election Day is “the best day of the year.”
“I think there’s a lot of really good people out there,” she said. “I was so excited to see the number of names on the ballot and the variety of different types of people that we get to choose from — man, I love choice. I love choice.”
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at email@example.com or (651) 528-1807.