City may alter write-in candidate rules

Fax balloting, absentee changes also being considered

Posted: Monday, June 04, 2001

Write-in candidates will need to give the city clerk's office advance notice they are running for office under a series of election changes scheduled for review by the Juneau Assembly.

Assembly members will consider a number of revisions to the city's election code tonight. The revisions fit into work on a larger city code revision project and incorporate changes made to state rules last year, City Clerk Laurie Sica said.

"We're cleaning up the old language to make it more consistent with what we're actually doing," she said.

For instance, a write-in candidate would need to submit a letter of intent five days before the election expressing a desire to serve if elected, Sica said. The change would help clear up a case in which, for example, a write-in candidate named Joe Smith is elected to office, but two people named Joe Smith are registered to vote, Sica said.

Other changes relate to new technology. The new code deletes references to punch card machines that have been replaced by optical scanners. And the proposed code would ban use of stickers on ballots for write-in candidates, Sica said. The stickers cause problems for the new scanners.

It will be easier to vote absentee under the proposed changes.

Following state practice, a permanent absentee voter list will allow voters to automatically receive an application for a city ballot. And any qualified voter will be allowed to cast an absentee ballot for any reason under the changes.

Another proposal would allow voters to use fax machines to obtain and cast ballots. Sica said she's still working on the mechanics of fax voting. State elections have used fax ballots for several years.

If the Assembly approves the changes, the code will go the U.S. Department of Justice for review. The hope is that the new code will be in place for the city's Oct. 2 election, Sica said.

In other action, the Assembly will consider an ordinance appropriating $21,000 in sales tax funds for Eaglecrest snow tubing area cost overruns. Another ordinance appropriates $25,000 in marine passenger fees for downtown crossing guards.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Assembly chambers.

Joanna Markell can be reached at joannam@juneauempire.com.



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