The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Candidates for city council, school board, finalized last week

Ballot also contains a proposition that could outlaw commercial pot


The names of candidates seeking election to the city council and board of education was finalized by the clerk's office last week.

Doug Davies, Lon Needles (incumbent), Carl Hedman, Ron Ruff, Sue Ellen Montes, and Jim Shirrell are all vying for a two-year term on council. There are two vacancies.

Darren Reese is the only candidate running for a three-year term.

Council members Lea Cockerham and Ryan "Rydor" McCune are leaving council and will not be seeking a second term.

Tammy Holmes is the only candidate running for a two-year term on the board of education. Holmes will be filling a vacancy left by the resignation of board member Melissa Cockerham.

Woody Woodgate, Jamie Winchester, Alan Sorum (incumbent) and Cara Bourne are vying for a three-year term on the board of education. There are three vacancies.

Board members Bill Connell and Darryl Verfaillie are not running for second terms.

There is only one proposition on the May 2 ballot. The measure asks voters if commercial marijuana should be banned in Valdez. If passed, Proposition 1 would require the town's one licenses marijuana retailer and both licensed growing facilities to permanently close within 30 days.

Candidate Carl Hedman was the primary sponsor of Proposition 1, and Doug Davies, also a candidate for city council, was a backer of the citizen's initiative that put the question to voters.

A yes vote on Proposition 1 means that you want to ban commercial marijuana in Valdez.

A no vote means you do not want to ban commercial marijuana.

The ballot measure does not prohibit the personal use, possession or growing of marijuana by private individuals age 21 or older, as long as the person remains in compliance with state laws on allowable amounts and where they use it.

While it is too late for a candidate to have their name included on the municipal ballot, voters need to be registered to vote before April 2 to be eligible to cast a ballot.

April 2 is a Sunday in 2017.

Residency requirements to register to vote are minimal.

You must be a US citizen, and a resident of both Valdez and Alaska for 30 days immediately preceding the election and registered to vote through the State of Alaska 30 days prior to the election.

If you plan to be out of town or have another reason you cannot make it to the polls May 2 but you still want to vote, the city clerk's office offers numerous ways to vote absentee before election day.

All you have to do is request an absentee ballot from the city clerk's office.

"The request for an absentee ballot by mail must be made on a City of Valdez provided form, which includes your Valdez address, the address to which the ballot is to be sent, and your signature," the clerk's office says. " It is advisable to apply for your absentee by mail ballot at least 4 weeks prior to the election to ensure the voted ballot reaches the City Clerk's office before May 2, 2017."

Voting early, in person, begins at city hall on April 17 and runs through May 1. Ballots can be cast Monday through Friday during regular business hours, excluding holidays.

Voters can also cast a ballot by fax or email.

"Voting by email or fax is conducted by the City Clerk's office during regular business hours beginning Monday, April 17, 2017 through the close of polls on elections day," the clerk's office says.

If needed, a ballot can even be cast with a proxy vote.

"A qualified elector unable to go to the polls due to age, serious illness, or disability may either request an absentee ballot by mail, or apply for an absentee ballot through a personal representative," the clerk's office says. "This option is available Monday, April 17, 2017 through the close of polls on election day. The form to request absentee voting by personal representative is available from the City Clerk's office."

Anyone with questions can contact the clerk's Office at 834-3468.


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