Low voter turnout recorded for Mat-Su Special Election

Proposition-only ballot possibly led to low turnout
Proposition-only ballot possibly led to low turnout.
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 5:13 PM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - The numbers coming out of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s July 12 special election are not exactly climbing. In fact, when compared to the last 20 regular and special elections, it’s a record low — with just under 8% of registered voters submitting a ballot.

The special election had four propositions on it that addressed redistricting, term limits for borough officials, as well as a property tax exemption increase for seniors and disabled veterans. All four propositions are currently passing with 100% of precincts reporting, but the results will remain unofficial until the Mat-Su Borough Assembly certifies the election on July 26.

The lack of candidates running for office on the special election ballot could be a contributing factor to why so few voters showed up to the polls. Borough Mayor Edna DeVries said Tuesday that proposition-only elections are out of the ordinary.

“So that’s a little bit different,” DeVries admitted. “Normally it’s candidates.”

In the last 10 years, elections in the Mat-Su have typically averaged just over 18% voter turnout, and according to the borough’s election results archives, the last special election held back in 2011 also experienced a low voter count. Barely 10% of the registered population showed up to the polls to elect Larry DeVilbiss to serve a partial term after former Mayor Talis Colbert resigned.

Mat-Su residents will have another chance to cast a ballot this year with two assembly seats and five school board seats up for grabs in November.

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