Ketchikan voters registered within the city limits will elect city council members and vote on a proposition to amend the City Charter to give city officials more time to tally ballots.

If passed, Proposition 1 allows an extra week to certify the election. Ketchikan City Clerk Kim Stanker says the change was proposed in anticipation of more absentee and early voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In this particular case, this would allow us more time for canvassing. And really, that’s what this is all about.”

She says, as of Tuesday, the city received more than three times the usual number of absentee-by-mail ballot requests.

Stanker says any changes to the charter, no matter how minor, have to go before voters. She says borough voters are not seeing a similar proposition on their ballots because the borough’s charter already allows extra time to certify an election.

Stanker says in past elections, city voters received one ballot with city candidates on one side and borough candidates on the other.

“This year we have two separate ballots, which means there will be two separate registers and it just makes a lot more work during the election for our election workers to have to run through each register and then present them with a ballot. Because only the city residents are eligible to vote for both the city and the borough.”

The proposition also strikes wording that voids a mayor-elect or councilman-elect’s election if they fail to qualify within one month after the beginning of their term. Stanker says this is being struck because it’s redundant.

“Those qualifications are met during the ‘Declaration of Candidacy” period. They wouldn’t even run if they didn’t already qualify.”

If the proposition does not pass, Stanker says city election officials will need to continue to count ballots and certify elections within one week.

Absentee voting is currently underway. Local municipal elections are on Tuesday, October 6.