With less than a week before the deadline, roughly 30 percent of Petersburg-area voters have cast ballots in the local borough election. The Alaska Division of Elections sent out 2,471 ballots in late November and as of Thursday (this) morning, the Division had received 752 back through the mail.
The ballot asks area voters whether they want to dissolve the city of Petersburg and form a new Petersburg borough. They are also voting on the Mayor and Borough Assembly seats as well as other local offices. There are no contested races for those seats and several have no candidates. The Borough would expand the municipality’s boundaries as well as its taxation and planning powers to include an area of land and sea roughly 83 times the size of the current city limits. Most of that additional area is undeveloped but it would include the small city of Kupreanof as well as a number of other neighborhoods, residences and businesses for an estimated population increase of around ten percent. The borough would encompass the town’s home island of Mitkof as well as Woewodski to the south and about half of Kupreanof Island to the west. It also includes the mainland territory from Le Conte Bay up to Holkum Bay just south of the Juneau Borough Boundary.
The City and Borough of Juneau submitted a petition to annex some of that same territory and it’s mounted a legal challenge over that issue.
Ballots returned by mail have to be postmarked by no later than Tuesday, December 18th. Ballots can be dropped off at the city of Petersburg and there’s also in-person voting available at Petersburg’s city council chambers weekdays through the 18th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.