Carlton Smith, candidate for the open Areawide seat on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, maintained his hold on the seat as city officials counted absentee and questioned ballots Friday morning.
At the end of election night, Smith held a 53-vote lead over Loren Jones. The pair maintained neck-and-neck votes for the 1,394 questioned and absentee ballots, with Smith making small gains. There also were seven ballots added to the North Douglas count and one ballot for the Mendenhall Valley 1 district. Those eight ballots had not been counted election night.
The preliminary ballot results ended the race between Smith and Jones with Smith leading by 74 votes. Smith garnered 2,777 votes for the entire election, Jones 2,703. Geny Del Rosario also ran for the seat, and gained 184 votes in Friday’s count, leaving her with 946 votes.
With all ballots counted, preliminary results show total voter turnout at 30.8 percent of registered voters, nearly a 6 percent gain over turnout on election night.
Ballot counting started shortly after 10 a.m. and was finished by 11:45 a.m. Election officials sent the ballots through three voting machines.
Jones has no idea what his future plans are.
“It depends,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do. I may continue travelling or I may serve on other committees.”
Jones said the close race leaves hope for possibly something in the future, though he wasn’t sure he’d run again.
“I don’t know, a lot of people had to work a long time to get me to run once,” Jones said. “... I think we had some similar ideas and that certainly showed with how the vote came down.”
Smith said he was surprised at the initial margin. He’s done some research since election night and found it isn’t terribly uncommon.
“I’m looking forward to getting started on Assembly issues,” he said. “There are two issues that the Assembly is looking at right now, the budget and then the succession of the manager and chief financial officer. That’s my focus right now. I will be speaking to the mayor today about committee assignments.”
Smith said he felt the overall race was a good process and many candidates raised good issues.
Results are preliminary until they are certified by the Canvas Board on Tuesday. Write-in ballots will be tallied on Monday for the school board race.
Assembly candidates will be sworn in Oct. 17.
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at email@example.com.