Each year, the City and Borough of Juneau holds a Regular Municipal Election on the first Tuesday of October to elect members of the Assembly and School Board and to decide on a variety of ballot propositions. In light of the potential exposure of voters and staff to COVID-19 from voting at crowded polling places, the Juneau Assembly has called for the October 6 Municipal Election to be conducted using a vote-by-mail process. The motion was approved during the May 18, 2020 night’s Regular Assembly Meeting. The associated ordinances still need to go through the public process.
The October 6 Regular Municipal Election will be conducted in partnership with the Municipality of Anchorage, which has run vote-by-mail elections for the past two years and recently held its annual election in April during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership will allow CBJ to use Anchorage’s Election Center and staffing resources, saving CBJ the need to purchase the vote-by-mail equipment and set up an Election Center.
Pre-pandemic, CBJ’s initial plan was to maintain the same municipal election process used in past years: 13 precinct polling places and two early absentee voting stations. To ensure the health and safety of voters as well as election workers – 90 percent of CBJ’s election workers is 60 years or older – status quo is no longer an option. Even with a vote-by-mail election, voters will still have the option to vote in person for two weeks leading up to Election Day at one or two voting centers.
Municipal Clerk staff, who run the municipal elections, will be in contact with voters in the coming weeks and months to provide information about the changes in the election process as well as to verify the mailing addresses of Juneau voters. The option to get a ballot sent to an alternate mailing address will be available. As the process moves along, details of the October 6 Municipal Election will be forthcoming.
For more information, contact CBJ Municipal Clerk/Election Official Beth McEwen at Beth.McEwen@Juneau.org or 586-0203.