Voting booths are set up at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Voting booths are set up at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Election night results on track for certification

Inclusion of absentee and questioned ballots have not changed the outcome of boroughwide races

The inclusion of absentee and questioned ballots have not changed the outcome of boroughwide races in the Oct. 4 municipal election. That’s per new data from the Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk’s Office updated around 2 p.m. on Monday.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough, Kenai and Soldotna all have different target certification dates for the municipal election. Certification of boroughwide races is expected to take place at Tuesday’s assembly meeting, while certification of Soldotna races is expected to occur at Wednesday’s city council meeting. Certification of Kenai’s election is set for Oct. 19.

Soldotna Interim City Clerk Brekke Hewitt said last week that the city had 242 absentee ballots in custody, as well as nine questioned ballots. The City of Soldotna plans to certify the results of the election during Wednesday night’s city council meeting.

Unofficial results show incumbent candidates ahead in races for city council: Dave Carey leads challenger Erick Hugarte by 294 votes and Lisa Parker leads challenger Garrett Dominick by 201 votes. Similarly, about 67.5% of votes were cast in favor of Proposition A, which would construct a new field house near the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

Over in Kenai, the races were slightly tighter. Unlike Soldotna, where candidates run for a specific seat on the council, candidates for Kenai City Council all run for the same vacancies. This year, five candidates put their hats in the ring for two council vacancies and a mayoral vacancy.

A report prepared by Kenai City Clerk Shellie Saner for the city council’s Oct. 5 meeting shows that there were 216 additional ballots to be counted after election day, including 195 absentee ballots, 14 questioned ballots and seven where a personal representative was used. The boroughwide summary report shows 350 votes between Kenai mayoral candidates, but smaller margins for city council candidates.

Incumbent Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel currently leads challenger Teea Winger, a city council member, by 350 votes. Alex Douthit received the most votes of the three city council candidates running at 558. That’s 104 more than the next highest vote-getter, Victoria Askin, and 164 more than Glenese Pettey, the third highest vote-getter, who received 394 votes.

Absentee and questioned ballots have not changed the outcome of boroughwide races or propositions per a jurisdiction-wide election summary report last updated at about 2 p.m. on Monday.

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, incumbent Jesse Bjorkman is ahead by 231 votes for the District 3 – Nikiski seat and incumbent Tyson Cox is ahead for the District 4 – Soldotna by 358 votes. Brent Johnson ran unopposed for reelection to the District 7 – Central seat.

Incumbents also had large vote margins on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education. Incumbent Patti Truesdell is leading by 319 votes in her bid for reelection to the District 1 – Kalifornsky seat, while incumbent Virginia Morgan is ahead by 346 votes in the District 6 – East Peninsula seat. Zen Kelly ran unopposed for reelection to the District 9 – South Peninsula seat.

Ballots similarly came down in favor of both boroughwide bond propositions, with about 58.8% of voters in favor of the school maintenance bond and about 66.8% of voters in favor of bonding for a new Central Emergency Services station in Soldotna. About 77.9% of voters also opted to stick with the nine single-member district makeup of the borough assembly and board of education.

Unofficial election results for all borough precincts can be found on the Kenai Peninsula Borough clerk’s website.

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

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