Matanuska-Susitna Borough voters at the polls tonight voted down prohibiting commercial pot sales and cultivation outside cities and inside the Borough, while overwhelmingly supporting taxing marijuana sales. Voters also supported paying for some $22 million in parks & recreation projects. Incumbent Mat-Su Assembly Member Jim Sykes, of Lazy Mountain, leads challenger Brian Endle by 103 votes, for now. School Board Member Ray Michaelson leads School Board Chair Susan Pougher by 39 votes at the polls.
Results are unofficial with 2,295 absentee ballots issued and 1,334 questioned ballots issued with many of those remaining to be counted. The election will be certified on Oct. 18, and results will be presented by the election Canvass Board to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly that night.
16,129 voters went to the polls tonight, some 23.61 percent voter turnout, spiking above last Oct. 2015 election's of 13.63 percent of voters at the polls with 16.95 percent voting overall.
Here is a link to the election spreadsheet.
Three Borough-wide propositions were on the ballot.
• The citizen initiative, Prop. B-1, on prohibiting the commercialization of marijuana outside the cities inside the Borough, failed 8,704 no to 7,271 yes.
• In Prop. B-5, voters overwhelmingly supported taxing the commercial sale of marijuana 13,266 to 2,536. The proposition will add a 5 percent Borough sales tax to the retail sales of marijuana with a sales tax exemption for cities of up to three percent.
• Voters approved Prop. B-4, the Parks & Recreation Bond, a $22.16 million dollar list of projects including work for 30+-year-old Palmer and Wasilla pools, nine trails, the Brett Memorial Ice Arena, outdoor ice rinks at Talkeetna and Willow, and five other projects. See the full list of projects attached here. The cost to property taxpayers will be $46.04 per year for a $218,000 home. The vote was 8,605 yes to 7,224 no.
In the race for Assembly Seat for District 1 (Butte, Lazy Mountain, & more) incumbent Jim Sykes outpaces former Planning Commissioner Brian Endle by 103 votes at the polls. Absentee ballots remain to been counted in this tight race.
A citizens' initiative that passed last year required school board members to reside in assembly district boundaries. This is the first election that enacts this voter-adopted initiative. School Board Seat for District 2 had two school board members vying for the same seat, with School Board Member Ray Michaelson edging out School Board Chair Susan Pougher by 39 votes at the polls only.
Borough Deputy Mayor Matthew Beck retains his seat with 1,864 votes. Beck was not challenged for Assembly District 2, which includes Greater Palmer.
School Board Member Donna Dearman also had no opponent for District 7, Talkeetna, and garnered 1,655 votes at the polls. Yvonne Ruth, of Big Lake, ran unopposed for the School District 5 seat, with 1,537 votes.
There's also two propositions for some Lazy Mountain Road Service Area voters on whether to annex a parcel into the Lazy Mountain Road Service Area, number 19. In Prop. B-2 290 yes to 164 no. In Prop. B-3 0 yes to 0 no.
Two precincts experienced jamming troubles with the AccuVote machines, Farm Loop and Knik-Goose Bay, the last one to be posted at 11:35 pm.