Juneau shouts 'Yes' as Alaska screams 'No'

Juneau voters may have shouted “Yes,” but their voices appear to have been drowned out by the rest of the state.


By Wednesday afternoon, the Alaska Division of Elections had finished tallying votes cast in Tuesday’s statewide primary. Ballot Measure 1, which would have repealed the state’s oil production tax reform, appears to be bound for failure.

With all 441 precincts reporting results, “No” was outpacing “Yes” by 6,880 votes, a margin of 52.23 percent to 47.77 percent.

Look at Juneau, however, and the results reverse. In House Districts 33 and 34, which include Juneau, Haines and Skagway, “Yes” passed “No” by almost a 2-to-1 margin, 6,452 to 3,397.

In some areas, the margin approached 6-to-1: In Juneau precinct No. 2, which covers downtown, there were 772 “Yes” votes to 134 “No” votes.

That precinct contains a large number of state employees whose jobs may be at risk if state revenue declines under the new oil tax system.

The Division of Elections reported distributing 21,767 absentee ballots, and at least 14,000 had been received by Wednesday. Another 2,000 early votes must also be counted before the results are finalized.

Unless absentee voting patterns drastically differ from those of Election Day, however, the result of Ballot Measure One is not expected to change. The deadline to receive by-mail ballots is Aug. 29, and the results are expected to be certified by Sept. 2.

In everything other than Ballot Measure 1, Juneau voted with the rest of the state: Dan Sullivan still beat Joe Miller, who in turn beat Mead Treadwell for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

Sullivan will face incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, who received the lion’s share of Democratic votes in Juneau as he did in the rest of the state.

For Alaska’s U.S. Representative, Don Young received the most votes from Republicans in Juneau and will face Forrest Dunbar, who received the most Democratic votes in Juneau.

For governor, incumbent Republican Sean Parnell received more than 3,000 Juneau votes. He will face Democrat Byron Mallot, who received more than 4,400 Juneau-area votes.

Mallot will be paired with lieutenant governor candidate Hollis French, who received almost 3,600 votes in the Juneau area. His challenger will be Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, who received 2,700 Juneau-area votes.

Juneau voters turned out in droves for Tuesday’s primary, bucking a trend toward low participation. Two years ago, just 783 voters cast ballots at Northern Light United Church, the polling station for Juneau precinct No. 2. This year, 911 voters cast ballots at the church— a figure that does not yet include absentee ballots.

Two years ago, 451 voters cast ballots at the Douglas library, home to the Douglas precinct. This year, 639 voters marked their choices — a figure that again does not include absentee ballots.

Two years ago, House District 33 mustered just 4,478 voters to the primary polls, a turnout of 30.46 percent. This year, the renamed House District 32 had 5,201 voters, a turnout of 35.94 percent before absentees are added.

House District 34 had 3,821 votes (a turnout of 27.24 percent) in 2012, when it was known as House District 31. This year, the Mendenhall Valley district saw 4,803 voters, a turnout of 35.6 percent.

In the Juneau area, the Lynn Canal precinct (voting at the ferry terminal) maintained its title as the most politically active area. Of its 1,201 registered voters, 45.38 percent made it to the Election Day polls. Two years ago, its Juneau-best turnout was 34.51 percent of 1,188 registered voters.

In downtown Juneau, the Juneau No. 3 precinct (voting at Bartlett Regional Hospital) had the best urban turnout, with 41.47 percent of its 979 registered voters participating.

• Contact assistant editor James Brooks at 523-2258 or at james.k.brooks@morris.com.


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