Election 2021

Municipal election day saw low voter turnout across the Kenai Peninsula Borough but a nail-biter for a Soldotna City Council seat, and a few upsets in the works.

Polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday for in-person voting across the borough, but absentee, questioned and special-needs ballots still need to be counted before results are certified. Across the borough, 7,395 votes were cast on election day, which is about 14 percent turnout.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough municipal election is today.

Kenai and Soldotna city councils have contested races for council seats. In Kenai, you vote for two candidates among five hopefuls. Victoria Askin, James Baisden, Alex Douthit, Jim Duffield and Deborah Sounart are running for the two open seats.

Kenai Peninsula Borough

There’s another hat — sort of — in the ring for the Kenai seat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education.

Kenai’s Hal Smalley, who has served in the state Legislature, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and Kenai City Council, says he’s agreed to a write-in campaign.

“A couple weeks ago I was asked by some folks if they could put me as a write-in, they said because there was a lack of choice for the school board. They weren’t happy with what was there,” Smalley said. “And I said, ‘Sure, that’s fine.’ And they said, ‘Well, if you were elected, would you serve?’ And I said, ‘Well, by all means, I would.’”

Smalley is retired from a career in education. He was a guidance counselor and language arts teacher in Ninilchik starting in 1976 and finished his career teaching English at Kenai Central High School. He volunteers for the breakfast program at Kenai Alternative School, as well as at the food bank, and serves on the Kenai Peninsula College Council. He says he’s enjoying doing what he likes in retirement but is willing to be conscripted back into public service.  

“I’m sort of a, I guess, somewhat declared write-in candidate. But, again, I’m not campaigning. It’s a very long shot,” he said.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

When it comes to its new voting machines, the borough is making a list and checking it twice.

Teri Birchfield and Linda Cusack with the canvass board were running through a checklist of tests Thursday morning on one of the borough's new Dominion Voting Systems machines.

They said most voters won’t register the new technology when they come in to cast their ballots. But for voters with disabilities, it could be game changing.