Mat-Su voters hit the polls Tuesday for Special Election

Borough mayor impressed with voter turnout
Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents lined up at the Dorothy Swanda Jones building in Palmer on Tuesday to cast their vote on the four propositions.
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 5:48 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2022 at 10:17 PM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents lined up at the Dorothy Swanda Jones building in Palmer on Tuesday to cast their vote on the four propositions put forth in a special election.

Some election results were available Tuesday night, but not all precincts have submitted their vote tallies.

The first of the four propositions voters will decide on is the reappointment plan for the Mat-Su Borough Assembly as well as the Mat-Su Borough School District School Board, something that comes up after every census period.

Borough Mayor Edna DeVries said the proposition verifies that all seven assembly and school board members are representing a roughly equal number of voters.

“It’s something we have to do every 10 years,” DeVries stated. “What we found is that in our fastest growing areas — down Knik-Goose Bay, Meadow Lakes, Big Lake area — that they were being underrepresented.”

Propositions two and three address term limits for both the Borough Mayor and assembly members who are currently allowed two consecutive three-year terms. If passed, it would limit individuals to only serve two consecutive terms in their lifetime. DeVries explained that an assembly member who has served two consecutive terms would still be able to run for mayor.

“But the same thing is true for the mayor,” DeVries said, assuming both propositions pass. “If the mayor would serve two consecutive terms then they would have a lifetime ban on that.”

The final item on the ballot, Proposition four, would raise the optional real estate tax exemption for senior citizens and disabled veterans from $68,000 to $114,000, if approved by voters. This exemption would be in addition to the $150,000 the State of Alaska already requires. DeVries said the current limit was adopted nine years ago and referenced the increase in property values as the reason for the proposition.

“Anybody that owns property in the borough knows, you know, how much that has increased,” DeVries said.

DeVries said she was surprised by voter turnout when she saw lines forming both at the borough building as well as in Sutton, where she delivered employee appreciation lunches earlier in the day.

Results for the special election are anticipated to start coming in Tuesday evening around 9 p.m. According to the borough’s election results website, this is the first special election to be held since 2011.

This article was updated with additional information.

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