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82 Ballots Will Decide Close Races in Unalaska's Municipal Election

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

After half of Unalaska's municipal races were too c?lose to call on Election Day, the results for mayor, commercial marijuana, and more will come down to 82 absentee and questioned ballots.

City officials will canvas the outstanding ballots on Friday, and City Clerk Cat Hazen says the votes could have a big impact once they're all counted.

"There's a significant number of ballots that'll be canvassed," said Hazen. "Certainly enough to make a difference in the final results."

In the mayor's race, those 82 ballots will decide whether incumbent Shirley Marquardt wins her fifth term outright or faces former mayor Frank Kelty in a runoff. Marquardt earned 39 percent of the vote, and she needs just one vote beyond 40 percent to clinch victory without a runoff.

The same goes for the race for City Council Seat C, where incumbent Roger Rowland holds 38 percent of the vote. If Rowland doesn't earn enough of the outstanding ballots to keep his seat outright, he'll meet challenger Jeff Treannie in run?off.

While those races might require another round of voting in November, Friday's canvassing will decide the final outcomes of the commercial marijuana referendum and the contest for school board Seat D.

With 53 percent of the vote, Unalaskans who want to repeal the city's ban on pot businesses hold a modest lead over the voters who want to keep the ban in place. That means the city's stance on commercial marijuana could be decided by about 40 votes.

The margin is even smaller for the school board race, where roughly 20 votes co?uld decide whether incumbent Denise Rankin is reelected or unseated by challenger Harriet Berikoff.

City officials will canvas the outstanding absentee and questioned ballots at City Hall on Friday at 10 a.m. Final election results will be certified at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, with any necessary run?off elections set for Nov?. 1.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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