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2017 Election Roundup: High Turnout, and a Good Night for Incumbents, Newcomers

Tim Ellis/KUAC

More than a quarter of the borough’s registered voters turned out Tuesday to reject two ballot measures and elect a slate of local-government and school board candidates.Voters resoundingly rejected borough Proposition 1 and city Proposition A, both of which would’ve outlawed marijuana businesses in the borough and city. Voters also turned thumbs down on a City of Fairbanks ballot measure that would’ve authorized increasing property taxes to fill a gap left by cuts in state revenue sharing.

For candidates, it was overall a good night for both incumbents and newcomers running for open seats.

According to unofficial vote totals posted to the Fairbanks North Star Borough website:

  • North Star Borough Assembly member Christopher Quist defeated challenger Hank Bartos. Angela Major won a five-way race for an Assembly seat held member Guy Sattley, who is terming out. Aaron Lojewski has a slim lead over Leah Berman Williams in a four-way race to fill an assembly seat held by John Davies, who’s also up against a term limit.
  • Tim Doran won a borough School Board seat being vacated by Michael O’Brien. Incumbents Sean Rice and Wendy Dominique retained their school board seats.
  • Newcomer Patrice Lee and incumbent Jack Wilbur have been elected to the Interior Gas Utility board.
  • Aino Welch and Sharon Hedding both secured North Pole City Council seats.

Borough Clerk Nanci Ashford-Bingham says 26.2 percent of borough's  voters participated in Tuesday’s election, well above the 15 percent turnouts that generally occur during local-government elections.
Ashford-Bingham says she and the city clerks of Fairbanks and North Pole reported nearly 2,300 absentee and early ballots cast for the election, and an above-average amount of questioned ballots. She says the clerks will include those ballots that qualify in the final numbers that’ll be in the totals submitted to the borough Assembly after the Oct. 10 canvass.

Editor's note: This story was revised to clarify that the borough's canvass board will meet Oct. 10 to count questioned and absentee ballots for a final, official tally of all votes cast for the Oct. 3 election.

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.