According to the unofficial results from Tuesday’s municipal election, voter turnout across the Kenai Peninsula Borough was 22.6 percent. With absentee and questioned ballots yet to be added, that number could even bump up a little higher.
Normally, in an election in which fewer than a quarter of the eligible voters cast a ballot wouldn’t generate too many positive comments. And it doesn’t come close to the 31 percent turnout for the 2011 municipal election, which featured a hotly contested race for borough mayor. But coming off last year’s municipal election in which voter turnout was just 16 percent, it’s a significant improvement.
We can find reasons for the low turnout last year — the municipal election was sandwiched between the state primary in late August and a general election in November that included a number of high-profile races.
However, this year’s municipal election also serves as an example of just how important every vote can be — in Kenai, candidates for mayor are waiting for absentee and questioned ballots to be counted as they were separated by just 32 votes on election night.
To everyone who took the time to learn about the candidates, study the issues and cast a vote, kudos on a job well done. An informed and engaged electorate is crucial to ensuring a responsive, accountable local government.