Kenai City Clerk Jamie Heinz attends a work session of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai City Clerk Jamie Heinz attends a work session of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai approves election overhaul

The new legislation more closely aligns the city with borough election code.

The correction of absentee ballot affidavits, authorization for the city clerk to determine candidate qualifications and shorter retention of candidates’ personal information are among the new election policies implemented under sweeping election legislation approved by the Kenai City Council during their Sept. 15 meeting.

The legislation, which Kenai City Clerk Jamie Heinz has described as the city being given a “blank slate,” completely repealed and replaced Kenai’s existing code related to elections. Heinz participated in a work session with the city council earlier this month in which she provided a sectional analysis of the new code and fielded questions from council members about the policy.

In addition to codifying some of the city’s existing election processes, the new legislation also means the City of Kenai is more closely aligned with the Kenai Peninsula Borough regarding the administration of elections. The city already collaborates with the borough to administer municipal elections.

The new code — Chapter 6 — contains 11 sections that outline, respectively, general provisions, voter qualifications, filing for office, administration of elections, polling site procedures, absentee voting, ballot counting procedures, canvassing and certification of election results, election recount, contest of election and special elections.

Absentee voting for the Oct. 5 municipal election began on Sept. 20. The council’s Sept. 15 meeting can be viewed in full on the city’s YouTube page.

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

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