A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Borough encourages voters to participate in municipal election

Kenai, Soldotna, Seward and Homer city councils as well as school district and assembly have seats open.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is encouraging peninsula voters to participate in the Oct. 5 municipal election. That’s per a resolution unanimously approved by the assembly during the body’s Aug. 17 meeting that, among other things, emphasized the importance of the right to vote and the security of borough elections.

“In an effort to increase voter turnout, the KPB Assembly strongly encourages all qualified residents of the Borough to register to vote and to be sure their voter registration information is current, to be fully informed about candidates and issues, and to vote by whatever means best suits their needs,” the legislation says.

The legislation, sponsored by assembly members Jesse Bjorkman, Willy Dunne and Tyson Cox, says that voter turnout among the borough’s roughly 51,000 registered voters has averaged less than 24% over the past six elections, with some precincts reporting turnout as low as 4%.

“Increasing voter turnout improves civic engagement, helps establish stronger social connections, empowers the whole community, improves the total health of the community,” the resolution approved last week states.

The resolution comes months after the assembly approved sweeping election legislation that codified the borough’s existing election procedures and was touted as a way to improve the security and integrity of borough elections. That legislation only applies to borough elections. It does not apply to state or federal elections.

That legislation, sponsored by Bjorkman and assembly member Bill Elam, establishes a clear chain of custody for ballots during an election, describes the public testing election tabulation machines, defines the rights of poll watchers and requires personal identification for people voting absentee by mail.

The next municipal election is on Oct. 5, with seats open across the borough on the Kenai, Soldotna, Seward and Homer city councils as well as on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

More information about the Oct. 5 municipal election can be found on the borough’s election website at kpb.us/assembly-clerk/elections.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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