After several weeks in which thousands of voters in the capital city cast their ballots, the City and Borough of Juneau announced the final results of its 2022 local election.
The final results — certified by the Canvass Review Board as of Wednesday evening— confirmed the fate of two highly debated propositions, which showed that a majority of voters did not wish for the city to move forward in issuing $35 million in bond debt to build a new City Hall, while residents voted to repeal a previous city ordinance requiring the disclosure of the sales price of real property within the borough.
The two propositions failed and passed respectively along thin lines. The final vote for Proposition 1, the City Hall proposition, was 4,394 yes votes versus 4,640 no votes — a 246-vote difference. For Proposition 4, the real estate disclosure proposition, it was 4,693 yes votes versus 4,327 no votes — a 366-vote difference.
The two other propositions on this year’s ballot — Proposition 2, which asked if the city should allocate $6.6 million in bonds toward funding the construction and equipment of park improvements at city parks, and Proposition 3, which asked whether the city should extend a temporary 1% sales tax, — both were passed handily by voters with 3,173 more yes votes for Proposition 2 and 3,420 more yes votes for Proposition 3, respectively.
And as expected by voters and officials, the uncontested incumbents in the races for City and Borough of Juneau Assembly and the Juneau School District Board of Education won their terms and will continue in their current seats for three more years.
All incumbent new terms and all passing propositions went into effect immediately after certification, according to city clerk Beth McEwen.
The city also announced this year’s voter turnout amounted to just under 33% of all registered voters who participated in this year’s election. In comparison, last year’s final election results pulled in a voter turnout of just under 31%.
The OK to repeal of the city’s mandatory disclosure ordinance now puts Juneau back into the in-state norm of “non-disclosure” as the state government does not require disclosure but does leave the door open for local governments to self-determine. Alaska is one of only a handful of states that does not require disclosure.
Therefore, the city can no longer require buyers in the area to disclose information to the city like the names of the seller and buyer, the actual amount paid or to be paid for the property, the terms of sale and the estimated value of any personal property included in the sale.
However, the battle over disclosure could come back into question. According to Robert Palmer III, CBJ municipal attorney, once a year has passed since the repeal’s adoption, either the Assembly or the public could attempt to reinstate a new mandatory disclosure ordinance via new code.
“The core concept is if the repeal is certified on Wednesday, the repeal is the law for a year, but after that, the Assembly or public can ask to do something new or modify the legislation,” he said.
Now that the election is certified, there is still opportunity for defeated candidates or a group of 10 qualified voters to file for a recount application, as outlined in CBJ’s code of ordinances.
A recount application must be filed within two days of the official review to be allowed. If OK’d, a recount would be held within five days after the acceptance of an application, according to city ordinance.
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.