Signs direct voters at the Kenai No. 3 precinct for Election Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Signs direct voters at the Kenai No. 3 precinct for Election Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Unofficial results show low turnout in cities, incumbent losses

All results are unofficial and do not include absentee, questioned and absentee ballots.

Less than 10% of Soldotna’s registered voters voted in-person on Election Day, however, Soldotna City Clerk Shellie Saner estimates overall voter turnout will be higher once absentee, questioned and special needs ballots are canvassed. Saner said Wednesday that the city currently has 135 of those ballots to count, in addition to 25 absentee by-mail ballots that are eligible to be counted if they are postmarked on or before Election Day.

The in-person voter turnout rate was similarly low in Kenai, where City Clerk Jamie Heinz said that rate was about 9.7%. The city has 171 ballots that still need to be counted, including absentee in-person ballots voted at Kenai City Hall and the Kenai Peninsula Borough building, absentee by-mail and electronic transmission ballots, questioned and special needs ballots.

Some precincts still had not reported results late Tuesday night. By Wednesday morning tallies had been updated with all precincts, however, results remained the same. All results are unofficial and do not include absentee, questioned and absentee ballots.

In Kenai, unofficial results show Deborah Sounart and James Baisden leading in the race for the city council’s two open seats. Five candidates ran for the vacancies, with the two top vote-getters winning seats.

In Soldotna, the city council has designated seats. Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings ran unopposed for election to the seat she currently holds. Dan Nelson was pulling ahead of incumbent Erick Hugarte for the council’s Seat C, with just over 50 votes between the two candidates. The race for the council’s Seat B was neck-and-neck between incumbent Jordan Chilson and Micah Shields, with just one vote putting Shields ahead.

In Homer, three seats were up for grabs, including one one-year term and two three-year terms. Jason Davis held a narrow lead over Heath Smith for the one-year seat, while incumbent Donna Aderhold and Shelly Erickson were comfortably leading for the three-year seats.

On the Kenai Peninsula School Board, Jennifer Waller was leading Benjamin Miller for the Sterling/Funny River seat by about 60 votes, while Matt Morse, running unopposed for the Kenai seat, secured about 77% of votes cast in that race. Tim Daugharty led the race for the board’s Homer seat by about 300 votes.

Cindy Ecklund emerged with a lead of about 160 votes over incumbent Kenn Carpenter for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s east peninsula seat. Brent Hibbert, running unopposed for reelection to the assembly’s Kalifornsky seat, clinched about 86.5% of votes cast in that race. Mike Tupper led in the race for the assembly’s southern peninsula seat, with a difference of about 160 votes between him and the candidate with the second-most votes.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship said Wednesday that it is not yet known what the borough-wide in-person voter turnout was on Tuesday, or how many ballots still needed to be counted from precincts around the borough, but that those statistics should be available later this week.

Jurisdiction-wide unofficial results for the Oct. 5 municipal election can be found on the borough clerk’s website at

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

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