Prop 1 passes in Cordova election; mayoral race too close to call

Volunteer Abby Bourgeois displays an “I voted” sticker. (March 1, 2022) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/for The Cordova Times

Cordova voters passed Proposition 1 on Tuesday, March 1, supporting a $2 million loan to help fund the South Harbor rebuild with an initial count of 756 yes votes and 52 no votes.

Preliminary election results have been tallied and released by the city clerk early on Wednesday, March 2, with 827 ballots counted.

With 463 votes, Kenneth B. Jones led the race for City Council Seat G over Molly Mulvaney at 355 votes.

With 23 more questioned ballots that may be counted and 18 absentee ballots, the mayoral race is too close to call. David Allison carried a slim lead with 414 votes to Wendy Ranney’s 406 votes, but with up to 41 ballots yet to be counted, either could win.

Four Cordova School District Board candidates competing for two spots were led by Theresa (Terri) Stavig with 440 votes and Barb Jewell with 412 votes. Chris Bolin had 361 votes and Stephanie Rusinski Bernard 332.

Voter turnout was higher than in some years, though there were fewer hotly contested seats than last year, when seven candidates vied for two seats on the school board.

Voters participate in the Cordova General Election. (March 1, 2022) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/for The Cordova Times

“We’re glad to see interest,” said election chair Ruth Steele. “No matter who’s running or how many people are running, it’s good to have this input from the people who consider Cordova their home.”

Voters confirmed Kristin Carpenter’s unopposed bid for City Council Seat F with 673 votes and Tom Bailer’s unopposed run for Seat A with 640 votes. The lone Cordova Community Medical Center Authority Board Candidate Annie Linville will take her seat on the board with 726 votes.

The remaining ballots will be counted on March 16 and the Election will be certified that evening at the Regular Council Meeting.

Ballot Proposition 1 will allow the city to take a $2 million low interest loan from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The funds will be used to supplement the South Harbor rebuild by replacing the current creosote pilings with steel pilings and installing a waste handling station.

Workers at Cordova’s general election reported a smooth voting process from 7 a.m. until evening. Voters arrived at the Cordova Center steadily throughout the day, without the expected rushes around lunch and after 5 p.m. Early voting, which was extended from two weeks ahead of the election to three weeks ahead of the election beginning in 2020, helped prevent long lines from forming, officials said.

Masking was required neither for voters nor for election officials, who sat behind plastic shields and mostly chose not to mask up. Voting booths remained spaced at a distance from one another, as they have been since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Twenty-year-old Abby Bourgeois, who monitored the ballot box and handed out “I voted” stickers, said that proceedings were pleasant and orderly throughout the day. As the daughter of City Clerk Susan Bourgeois, she grew up with an increased awareness of city affairs, she said. Nonetheless, this was Abby Bourgeois’s first time working an election.

“I’m realizing how many Cordovans I don’t know!” Abby Bourgeois said. “I’ve lived here my whole life and there are still so many people I don’t recognize.”

Voters prepare to cast ballots at the Cordova Center. (March 1, 2022) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/for The Cordova Times

Preliminary election results at a glance

Preliminary election results have been tallied and released by the city clerk with 827 ballots counted. With 23 more questioned ballots that may be counted and 18 absentee ballots, the mayoral race is too close to call. The remaining ballots will be counted on March 16 and the Election will be certified that evening at the Regular Council Meeting.

Proposition 1 – South Harbor $2 million DEC Loan

  • Yes 756
  • No 52

Mayor

  • David Allison 414
  • Wendy Ranney 406

City Council Seat “G”

  • Kenneth B. Jones 463
  • Molly Mulvaney 355

City Council Seat F

  • Kristin Carpenter 673

City Council Seat A

  • Tom Bailer 640

Cordova School District Board

  • Stephanie Rusinski Bernard 332
  • Chris Bolin 361
  • Barb Jewell 412
  • Theresa (Terri) Stavig 440

CCMC Authority Board

  • Annie Linville 726
Volunteer Lindsey Hammer reviews election rolls. (March 1, 2022) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/for The Cordova Times