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)

Municipal election results not changed by addition of absentee ballots

The borough counted an additional 4,513 absentee, question and special needs ballots.

The inclusion of 4,513 absentee, question and special needs ballots did not change the outcome of any borough races or propositions in the 2020 municipal election.

The closest race was for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s District 2 seat, which represents Kenai. Incumbent Hal Smalley was challenged by Richard Derkevorkian and Jim Duffield. Including absentee ballots, Derekevorkian won the seat, beating Smalley by 26 votes.

The race for Kenai City Council’s two open seats was also close. Teea Winger received the most votes of the three candidates running at 562. Current City Council Member Henry Knackstedt received the second-highest number of votes at 472, beating out Tim Navarre, who also sits on the Kenai City Council, by 46 votes.

Incumbent Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce secured more than 50% of votes cast in the race for borough mayor, taking home 7,639 to his opponent Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings’ 6,125. Troy Nightingale, who also ran for borough mayor, received 509 votes.

Boroughwide, 14,548 of 51,761 registered voters cast ballots for a voter turnout rate of 28.11%. The Moose Pass precinct saw the highest voter turnout, at 32.72%, while the Tyonek precinct saw the lowest at 3.88%. The turnout for Kenai precincts 1, 2 and 3 were 16.97%, 16.82% and 19.65%, respectively. The Soldotna precinct saw a turnout rate of 15.84%.

The weekend after the election, the borough’s Election Review Board tabulated the additional absentee, question and special needs ballots in addition to updating the six by-mail precincts. The only other ballots that will be added to the final totals are those that were postmarked on or before Election Day and were received by the borough in the mail on Election Day.

Absentee ballots are ballots cast at an absentee in-person voting site, by mail or by fax via an application, Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship said via email on Monday. Question ballots are special ballots cast by voters whose names were not on the register, also known as provisional ballots. Special needs ballots are those where a voter had a representative go to a voting site and get a special needs ballot for them; they vote and then the representative returns the complete ballot to the site.

Official election results will be certified by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly at their Oct. 13 meeting.

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

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