Ketchikan Gateway Borough Canvass Board on Monday counted all 513 absentee ballots, 156 questioned ballots and 10 special needs ballots cast for the borough's Oct. 6 local election. All candidates kept the same standing as they did on election night.
The results are unofficial until they are certified on Oct. 20 shortly before the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meeting.
Parent Nicole Anderson won a strong plurality of votes for the Ketchikan School Board's two open one-year seats, securing 1,923 votes compared to former Board Member Kim Hodne, who received 1,364 votes to apparently secure the other one-year seat, and current Board Member Tom Heutte, who got 1,226 votes.
"I'm excited to get started," Anderson said. "I was a little overwhelmed with the number of votes — … well, I shouldn't say the number of votes. I was disappointed in the number of votes. Our community needs to get out and do a better job on (turnout)."
About 27% of the borough’s 11,840 registered voters cast a vote in the Oct. 6 election, including those who voted early in person at the Gateway Recreation Center, absentee by mail, absentee electronically, with a special needs ballot or with a questioned ballot. The voting precinct at North Tongass Fire Station 8 saw the highest turnout, with 31% of its 1,860 registered voters submitting a ballot in person, absentee, questioned or special needs; Ketchikan’s precinct at the Gateway Recreation Center saw the lowest turnout of the borough, with 22% of its registered voters casting a vote in the election. (For comparison, about 60% of estimated eligible voters nationwide voted in the 2016 presidential election.)
"It's exciting,” Anderson added. “I'm ready to get started, and I'm new to all of this, so I'm, to be honest, not familiar with the whole process, but willing and ready to learn and go forward from here and make sure our kids have an excellent education.”
School Board Clerk-Treasurer Diane Gubatayao dwarfed even Anderson’s strong lead, with 2,127 votes cast for her in the election for the School Board’s two vacant three-year seats, according to the Canvass Board’s unofficial results on Monday. Incumbent Board Member Paul Robbins Jr. has a modest lead over parent Ali Ginter, with 1,478 votes to Ginter’s 1,352, and is poised to continue on the School Board for three more years.
Finally, a varied field of candidates for the Assembly’s three three-year seats looks set to name its new members, with the two veterans of the office earning the biggest piece of the electorate’s vote. Vice Mayor AJ Pierce and former Assembly Member Judith McQuerry are within eight votes of each other according to the Canvass Board’s results, securing 1,652 and 1,644 votes, respectively.
Jeremy Bynum came third in those rankings, with 1,434 votes, followed by Trevor Shaw, who got 1,140 votes. Sheen Davis received 1,005 votes, and Matthew Merrill received the fewest number of votes, with 803 cast for him.
"I'm just honored and humbled to have the support, and I just appreciate that the community has seen my good works and has the trust that I can carry that for another three years," Pierce said in a Monday phone interview with the Daily News.
Pierce said she plans to focus on topics such as affordable housing and avoiding tax increases during the pandemic. McQuerry said she felt the same way.
"I feel really honored that people wanted to put me back on the Assembly,” McQuerry said. “I very much hope to be worthy of their trust in me!”