Deputy City Clerk Di Cathcart collects ballots from the ballot drop box at Don D. Statter Harbor the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 19. Drop boxes located in Auke Bay and at the Douglas Public Library and Fire Hall are one of a few ways to vote in this year’s by-mail municipal election. (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. Drop boxes located in Auke Bay and at the Douglas Public Library and Fire Hall are one of a few ways to vote in this year’s by-mail municipal election. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau voter turnout so far is at 11%, here’s how that compares to past years

Over 3,000 ballots were recieved by Thursday.

Voters cast more than 3,000 ballots in the first several days of City and Borough of Juneau’s by-mail municipal election, according to city data.

Ballots were sent to 27,467 registered Juneau voters on Sept. 15, and as of Thursday, Sept. 24, election officials had received 3,214 ballots, City and Borough of Juneau said in a news release. That tally includes 1,276 ballots received by mail, 568 ballots dropped off at the Don D. Statter Harbor ballot drop box, 524 ballots at the Douglas Library and Fire Hall ballot drop box, 488 at the Mendenhall Valley Library vote center, 331 ballots at the City Hall vote center and 26 ballots at the city clerk’s office before voting centers opened, according to the city.

The ballots received through Thursday work out to be 11% of registered voters, according to the city. That means with nearly two weeks to go until municipal election day, Oct. 6, voter turnout is about one-third of the way to equalling a more typical year’s turnout. This year’s election is being held by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Voter turnout was 31.4% in last year’s election, according to the official results, and 35.5% in the 2018 municipal election, which featured a mayoral race.

[What to expect during mail-in municipal election]

How voting by mail will ultimately affect voter turnout will be clearer in the coming days, but it is readily apparent the vote-by-mail approach has led to an uptick in voting before election day.

So far, the ballots received by city officials are about double the number of absentee ballots received last year.

In the 2019 election, 1,647 total absentee ballots — a total that includes early in-person voting, votes received by mail, votes received by fax and votes cast by a personal representative — were counted. In a numerical coincidence, 2,018 such ballots were counted in 2018.

Still need to vote?

For the roughly 89% of registered voters, who have yet to cast their ballots, there are several ways to do so.

One way is to mail it through the U.S. Postal Service with a 55-cent stamp. Ballots sent via mail must be postmarked by Oct. 6. Another way to vote is to place the ballot in a secure ballot drop box at the Douglas Library or Statter Harbor between now and 8 p.m. Oct. 6, and the third way is to take it to a vote center at either City Hall or the Valley library.

The City Hall vote center is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on weekdays and will be open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. on election day. The Valley library vote center is open 10- a.m.- 6 p.n. on weekdays and noon-4 p.m. on Saturdays. It will be open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. on election day.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

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