Candidates and officials prepare for upcoming elections
While many Alaskans are busy casting fishing poles, a number of people around the state are looking at polls of a different nature and are preparing for the upcoming elections, where voters will cast ballots to elect leaders to local and state positions.
“We’ll have two statewide elections,” said Sheri Pierce, city clerk for Valdez, and also its top election official. “The primary is August 28.”
Five State Senate candidates and three Alaska House hopefuls met the June 1 deadline to file with the Alaska Division of Elections to run in the newly redrawn voting districts that include Valdez.
The elections division says Anne Sudkamp of Fairbanks is the lone democrat running to fill the open District C Senate seat. Republicans Click Bishop of Fairbanks, David Eastman of Palmer, Ralph C. Seekins of Fairbanks and Bill D. Ward of Delta Junction will vie for the GOP nomination to represent Senate District C.
Seekins began the campaign with a big bang, taking out a full page ad in the Valdez Star and other district newspapers announcing his candidacy.
The race for the Alaska House seat in District 6, which includes Valdez, the primary election will pit incumbent Eric Feige of Chickaloon against George Rauscher of Palmer for the Republican nomination. Jamey E. Duhamel of Palmer is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
Ballot measure one, entitled “Increasing the Maximum Residential Property Tax Exemption” reads “This bill would allow a city or borough to raise the property tax exemption on a residence from $20,000 to at most $50,000. This kind of tax exemption must be put to a vote and approved at a local election. The bill also allows a city or borough to pass a law to adjust this exemption to reflect a raise in the cost of living.”
Ballot measure two, if approved by voters, will reinstate a Coastal Management Program, which expired last summer after legislators failed to come to an agreement on extending the program, which gave local communities a voice in coastal issues.
Valdez will hold its local elections October 2 in conjunction with state primary elections.
The seat for mayor of Valdez currently held by Dave Cobb is up for election, as well as council seats currently held by Steve McCann, Alan Sorum and Joe Prax. All four seats are for two-year terms. Three-year terms for school board seats currently held by Dr. Kathy Todd and Dave Lawrence are also up for election.
It is expected that funding for a new middle school in Valdez will also be on the October ballot.
“We will probably have – if they get it to me – the school bond for the new middle school on the ballot,” Pierce said.
In order to vote in the August primary or October general elections, Valdez electors must be registered to vote one month before the voting date.
“You have to be registered 30 days prior to the election,” Pierce said. “Don’t wait till the last minute.”
While the cutoff date to run for statewide office was June 1, there is still plenty of time to file to run for city office Pierce said. All a candidate must do is pick up a petition at the clerk’s office and return it with 25 signatures of registered Valdez voters. A run at the mayor’s seat requires 50 signatures.
“The first day will be the 16th of July,” Pierce said. That is the date official petitions can be picked up at the clerk’s office at city hall. They must be returned before the mandated deadline. “The last day will be the 16th of August.”
The candidate packets cannot be mailed or faxed according to Pierce.
“They have to pick them up in person,” Pierce said, “They have to return them in person.”
The other requirements for candidate eligibility are minimal.
“They have to be a resident of the City of Valdez,” she said, “eighteen years of age, a US citizen, and been a resident for one year.”
The clerk’s office is also seeking temporary workers to run the upcoming elections.
“I also need to recruit for election workers,” Pierce said.
While precise details outlining exact qualifications needed to become an election worker were not available at press time, Pierce said she is ready to begin the hiring process.
“They just need to contact the clerk’s office,” she said.