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Will Unalaska Go Red Or Blue? Either Way, Island Has Huge Early Voter Turnout

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

It's Election Day, and the polls are open in Unalaska.

One hundred and sixteen early voters have already cast their ballots, which will help choose a new president as well as decide who represents Alaska in Washington D.C. and who controls the state Legislature.

That's a huge turnout for early voters in Unalaska, according to City Clerk Cat Hazen.

"It is way beyond anything we've ever seen," she said. "I think, normally, we're used to 30 or 40."

Hazen said she expects the strong showing to continue Tuesday.

"I'll be surprised if we don't have another near-record turnout," she said.

That still leaves the question: Will Unalaskans support Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or another presidential candidate?

Only one Democrat has won Alaska since the state voted in its first presidential election in 1960, but Unalaska has gone back and forth in the last four contests.

In 2012, the community supported the reelection of Democratic President Barack Obama with more than 60 percent of its vote. Obama had lost Unalaska in his first bid for the White House, when local voters chose the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin by a dozen votes.

The 2004 race was even closer in Unalaska. The community went blue by just three votes, picking John Kerry over George W. Bush. Four years earlier, the Republican had won the island by 10 percent.

This year, most polls predict Alaska will stay red, but some pundits say the race could be closer than expected.

The polls are open at Unalaska City Hall until 8 p.m.

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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