The state’s Division of Elections Monday put over 24-hundred ballots in the mail for voters near Petersburg to decide on the formation of a new borough.The division sent out a total of 2,471 ballots to registered voters in the area. The proposed home rule borough would encompass 3,829 square miles of land and water of the state’s unorganized borough in central Southeast Alaska. If voters approve, Petersburg’s city government would be dissolved and reformed as a borough government with expanded municipal boundaries as well as taxing and planning authority over that much larger area. The proposed boundaries include Petersburg’s home Island of Mitkof as well as Woewodski Island and a large portion of Kupreanof Island to the west. The boundaries also encompass the mainland territory from LeConte Bay to Holkham Bay. The small city of Kupreanof across the Wrangell narrows on Kupreanof Island would remain a municipality within the new borough.
The ballot asks whether to form a new Petersburg borough and also has candidates for mayor, assembly, school board and hospital board.
Voters have a few options for returning their completed ballot and the state plans to post election returns on the final day of voting December 18th. Joe Viechnicki spoke with division director Gail Fenumiai about the mail-out balloting.
For iFriendly audio, click here:
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. There’s also in-person absentee voting starting up Monday, December 3rd at Petersburg city council chambers. That will be available Monday to Friday through the 18th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The last incorporation election conducted by the division was for the borough of Wrangell, approved by voters there in May of 2008. The vote in Wrangell was 64 percent in favor of the new borough and 36 percent opposed.