In the race to fill three three-year and one two-year Ketchikan City Council seats in yesterday’s election, four candidates edged ahead in the unofficial vote tallies.

Ending the evening with the most votes among the eight people vying for the three-year seats was incumbent Dave Kiffer, who garnered 757 votes on election day. Next in line were newcomers Riley Gass, with 581 votes; and Abby Bradberry, with 464 votes.

The frontrunner in the race for the on two-year seat was incumbent Mark Flora, with 531 votes. Newcomer Grant Echohawk trailed in second place with 399 votes and the third candidate for that seat, Mary Stephenson, tallied 235 votes.

Kiffer, in a phone interview after the vote counts were tallied, expressed reservations about celebrating too soon, as “some 300 absentee ballots” still were to be counted.

He added, “I really appreciate the faith that the community has, for me to take on another three years with the council, and I think that the results show that there’s a lot of interest in residents about how they want to be governed, and I think that that’s a good thing.”

Flora, in a phone interview following the counts, also said he was very aware that many absentee ballots still were awaiting canvassing, and that he was reluctant to claim victory as well.

“I’m actually very encouraged about everybody, whether it was for the three- or the two-year seat,” he said, because the campaigns were clean and positive, with nobody bashing anybody else along the way.

Following behind Kiffer and Gass in the race for the three-year seats are Abby Bradberry (464 votes), Jai Mathani (437), incumbent Dick Coose (369), Joey Jean Tillson (295), Lisa Scarborough (249) and Spencer Strassburg (227). In the race for the one 2-year seat, Grant Echohawk was in second place behind Flora with 399 votes, while Mary Stephenson was in third with 235.

City Proposition 1, which would change when city mayor and council member terms of office would begin after an election, was being approved solidly with 897 votes in favor of the proposition, and 249 against.

The canvass board is scheduled to meet Wednesday to count absentee, questioned and special needs ballots at the City Hall offices.

According to election information, there are 301 absentee ballots, 93 questioned ballots and five special needs ballots to be tallied.

 According to Ketchikan City Clerk Kim Stanker, in a phone call Tuesday, all of the votes for the city election are expected to be tallied by Wednesday evening or possibly Thursday. She said the number of mailed-in ballots were about twice the number as usual this year.

There is a special meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the Ted Ferry Civic Center to certify the election.

Daily News Staff Writer Scott Bowlen contributed to this story.