Enthusiasm about this year’s municipal elections was so low that one of the candidates did not vote, having forgotten to go to the polls on Oct. 1.
Turnout for the Kodiak Island Borough’s 2019 elections was 15%, representing a small increase from last year’s 13% turnout rate. Overall, just 1,550 of 10,104 registered borough voters cast ballots, according to an Election Canvass Board report completed Wednesday afternoon.
Voter turnout ranged from 22 to 26% from 2006 to 2011. This year’s low turnout rate is second only to the 13% rates recorded in 2012 and 2018.
According to the canvass results, Ouzinkie had the highest turnout this year at 37%, or 59 out of 159 registered voters. Ouzinkie was followed by Old Harbor and Chiniak, with 28 and 25% respectively.
The Bells Flats and Kodiak No. 2 precincts were tied for the lowest turnout rate, at 9%. Just 152 out of 1,757 registered voters in the Flats went to the polls, and just 180 out of 2,023 registered voted in the Kodiak No. 2 precinct.
Kodiak No. 1 precinct had an 11% turnout rate. The Mission Road precinct had a turnout rate of 17%. Port Lions had a turnout rate of 19%.
Kodiak Island South, which includes Larsen Bay, Akhiok and Karluk, had a turnout rate of 14%, or 24 out of 171 registered voters. Voting took place in Larsen Bay.
Absentee, questioned and personal representative ballots totaled 212. These ballots are not broken down by precinct.
Bill Roberts was elected to a three-year term as Kodiak Island Borough mayor, and will replace current mayor Dan Rohrer, who has served in the role since 2016. Roberts received a total of 1,044 votes, beating out Sandra Katelnikoff-Lester, who received 454 votes.
Scott Arndt will maintain his seat on the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly. Duane Dvorak will join the assembly, replacing current member Scott Smiley. This will be Dvorak’s first term on the assembly. Arndt and Dvorak received 929 and 910 votes respectively, beating out candidate Mel Stephens, who received 675 votes.
Julie Cain Hill will keep her seat on the Kodiak Island Borough School District Board of Education. Hill received 1,155 votes, beating out candidate Cejie Benoit, who received 286 votes.
In the Fire Protection Area No. 1 Board, Mike Dolph was elected to a three-year term with 578 votes.
In the Monashka Bay Road Service Area Board, Thomas Lance, a write-in candidate, was elected to a three-year term with 13 votes. An additional seat remains vacant on the Monashka Bay Road Service Area Board due to a lack of candidates. The Borough Assembly may fill the vacant seat by appointment,
For the Service Area No. 1 Board, Craig DeHart and Dennis Symmons were elected to three-year terms. DeHart received 442 votes. Symmons, a write-in candidate, received two votes. Symmons also serves as a member of the Borough Assembly.
In the Womens Bay Service Area Board, Jason Chandler and Christopher Windnagle were elected to three-year terms, with 144 and 111 votes respectively.
In the Bay View Road Service Area, Jim Carmichael, a write-in candidate, was elected to a three-year term with two votes.
Lucas Baxter also filed a write-in candidacy for the Bay View Road Service Area, but received no votes. Borough Clerk Tara Welinsky said the lack of votes was worrisome, prompting an additional examination of election results.
“I was concerned maybe there was a problem and that’s why we combed through pretty carefully,” she said.
Baxter said he submitted his write-candidacy because of a lack of candidates for the position. Originally, no individuals had filed for the two open seats.
“I was asked to put my name down for that district because we live out there, and that’s what I did,” he said.
However, Baxter said he did not vote in the elections. When asked why, he said, “I guess I forgot about it.”
A seat remains open on the Bay View Road Service Area, which can be filled by assembly appointment. Baxter, who has lived in Kodiak for more than five years, said he may put his name forward for the appointment process.
Borough results will be certified by the assembly at the Oct. 17 regular meeting. Elected officials will be sworn in during the meeting, and assume their roles on Monday, Oct. 21.
The Kodiak City election turnout rate was 11%, or 454 out of 4,056 registered voters. None of the city races were contested. Mayor Pat Branson will keep her seat with 398 votes. City Council members Charles Davidson and John Whiddon also were re-elected with 365 and 342 votes respectively.
City results will be certified by the council at the Oct. 24 regular meeting.