Election official Carol Schriver helps a voter with a ballot question at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Voter turnout wasn’t especially good or bad Tuesday and came close to last year’s total. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Election official Carol Schriver helps a voter with a ballot question at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Voter turnout wasn’t especially good or bad Tuesday and came close to last year’s total. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Voter participation turns out to be about average

Not the best, but not the worst.

Voter turnout for the 2019 municipal election didn’t set the world on fire, but it wasn’t especially terrible either.

Unofficial election results show 23.4 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the City and Borough of Juneau Election. There are 27,224 registered voters in the capital city and 6,375 ballots were cast, according to unofficial results.

“I think it’s about average,” City Clerk Beth McEwen said after election day votes were tallied.

There were an additional 2,000 absentee and question ballots cast. That would raise the turnout to about 30 percent of registered voters if each of those is counted.

Last year, in an election that featured a mayoral race and eight Assembly candidates, unofficial voter turnout was recorded at 26.1 percent.

The precinct with the highest voter turnout this year was Lynn Canal at 35.3 percent, according to unofficial results. The only other precinct to top 30 percent was North Douglas, at 30.6 percent. Douglas just missed the mark at 29.6 percent.

The precinct with the lowest turnout was Lemon Creek at 14.7 percent, according to the unofficial results. The only other precinct to fall below 20 percent was Mendenhall Valley 1, which saw 17.1 percent turnout, according to the unofficial results. Downtown precincts were 21.4, 29.2 and 23.9 percent.

Wade Bryson’s uncontested bid for a District 2 Assembly seat generated the most write-in responses — 335, according to unofficial results.

Write-in votes appeared to have more impact on a couple of the night’s more contested races. There were no certified write-in candidates in any of the races.

Unofficial results show the race between Greg Smith (4,017) edged out Alicia Hughes-Skandijs(3,764) to lock up the most votes for a District I seat and a three-year Assembly seat instead of a one-year seat came down to 253 votes. There were 236 write-in votes that were counted, according to unofficial results.

The four-way school board race for two seats was too close to call Tuesday with fewer than 200 votes separating second-place Emil Mackey (2,239 votes) and Martin Stepetin Sr. (2,045 votes.) There were 169 write-in votes in that one, according to unofficial results.

Absentee and question ballots will be counted Friday, and the election’s results will be certified Tuesday, Oct. 8.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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