Lake and Peninsula voters can email ballots in local elections

Oct 4, 2021

Last month, the borough assembly updated its code to allow voting by email in local elections. The borough has also implemented a new system for voters to track their mail-in ballots.

The post office in Chignik Bay. July 16, 2021.
Credit Izzy Ross/KDLG

Voters in the Lake and Peninsula Borough now have the option to cast their ballots via email in local elections. 

The borough election is Tuesday, Oct. 5. Polling won’t be in-person. Instead, the borough clerk is accepting by-mail ballots postmarked by Tuesday. 

 

This election, voters can also cast their ballots digitally. Borough Clerk Kate Conley said there has been an option to vote remotely via fax for decades. Last month, the borough assembly agreed to update its code to allow voting by email as well. 

 

To do so, a voter first has to pick up the phone and call the borough clerk. 

 

“I send them a email with the ballot and some other paperwork — there’s like four pages to it. They fill that out and email it back to me, and that’s it. That’s as simple as it is,” Conley said.

 

Just like with a mail-in ballot, voters will need two witnesses.

 

In the ordinance that approves voting by email, the borough assembly cited the logistical hurdles voters face, such as limited post office hours.

"Mail must be transported by airplane, often going hundreds of miles and passing thru up to five post offices," it said, adding that those difficulties mean ballots arrive late to the borough offices in King Salmon every year.

The borough also implemented a new way for voters to track their ballot. It’s called BallotTrax, and it tracks the status of every mail-in ballot and sends a series of alerts to the voters to let them know where the ballot is in the election process. Conley said it follows the ballot from the time it’s sent out to the time it’s accepted.

 

“So for example, if somebody has a ballot that is in error — they didn’t maybe have two witnesses, maybe they only had one witness, or maybe they forgot to sign it or put in their ID, I can send them a text through the BallotTrax system that says, ‘Your ballot has an error. Please call the clerk,’” Conley explained.

 

There are two contested races on the Lake and Pen Borough Assembly. Incumbent Mayor Glen Alsworth, Sr., of Port Alsworth is running for re-election against challenger Charles “Chip” Embretson of Iliamna. Incumbent Christina Salmon of Igiugig and challenger Lorene "Sue" Anelon of Iliamna are running for seat B. 

 

Incumbent Myra Olsen of Egegik is running unopposed for seat E. 

 

Three candidates are running for school board seat B. Incumbent Harry Ricci of Kokhanok is running for re-election against Margie Olympic of Iliamna and Jeffrey Bringhurst of Igiugig. 

 

Incumbent Gerda Kosbruk of Port Heiden is running unopposed for seat F. 

 

To vote via email, call the borough clerk at 907-469-1171 any time before 8 p.m. on Oct. 5.

To register for BallotTrax, go to lakeandpenvotes.com. You can also call 907-246-3421 or email kateconley@lakeandpen.com.

Contact the author at izzy@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.