Redistricting after the 2000 census drew new political boundaries across the state, including here in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Voters in Tuesday's municipal election are finding local precincts changed as well, meaning in some cases that familiar polling places have moved.
Colored maps published in the municipal election pamphlet mailed to borough households should clear up any confusion. Voters also may call the borough clerk's office for further assistance.
Residents appear to have their polling locations well in hand, said borough Clerk Linda Murphy.
"Most people worked all of this out at the (August) primary," she said. "Some have not been happy because they've voted in one place for a number of years, and now they are at a new location. But for the most part, people have taken the change really well."
Along with the new precinct boundaries and polling locations, this year's election also involves several ballot measures that not all borough voters will vote on. Thus, the borough has prepared 18 separate ballots. There also are four city election ballots that only city-dwelling borough residents will cast.
The host of ballots is not unusual, Murphy said.
"Not when you consider that there are seven assembly seats up for election and also quite a number of service areas that cross precinct boundaries," she said.
For instance, the new Anchor Point precinct has three different parts. Some members will get a ballot that includes Proposition 5 on a proposed port and harbor service area. But not everyone in the precinct is in the service area. In fact, two sections of the precinct will get ballots different from the first and also from each other -- one for those living within the new Kachemak Emergency Service Area, and one for those who do not.
Similarly, but for other reasons, multiple ballots have had to be prepared in some of the other 24 precincts.
Murphy said she doesn't expect to see a day when the precinct and service area boundaries actually match up.
"Not in my lifetime, anyway," she joked.
In some cases, the number of precincts in an area has been reduced. Homer used to have three. Now it has just two, despite the city now being larger due to the recent annexation.
In the past, the fact that ballots had to be counted by hand forced precincts to be relatively small so poll workers weren't kept at it until all hours. Now, fast scanning machines count ballots in most parts of Alaska.
"The Accuvote system has allowed us to have larger precincts," Murphy said.
Designing precincts and determining polling places today have less to do with how late poll workers may have to stay than with how much congestion voters may cause, she said.
The polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 8 p.m.
Here is a list of precincts and polling place locations. Note that the Sterling polling place is the Sterling Senior Citizens Center, not the Central Emergency Services Sterling Fire Station as it appears in the borough voter pamphlet. That error was not discovered until the booklets were mailed, Murphy said.
Anchor Point: Anchor Point Senior Citizens Center at Mile .25 Milo Fritz Ave.
Bear Creek: Bear Creek Fire Hall at Mile 5 Seward Highway.
Central: Soldotna Sports Center at 538 Arena Drive.
Cooper Landing: No polling place. Voters use mailed ballots.
Diamond Ridge: Homer Legislative Information Office at 345 W. Sterling Highway.
Funny River: Borough Building at 144 North Binkley St.
Homer 1: Homer City Hall at 491 East Pioneer Ave.
Homer 2: Homer Senior Citizens Center at 3935 Svedlund St.
Hope: No polling place. Voters use mailed ballots.
Kachemak Bay: No polling place. Voters use mailed ballots.
Kachemak City-Fritz Creek: Kachemak Community Center at 41770 Bear Creek Drive.
K-Beach: K-Beach Fire Station at 37699 K-Beach Road.
Kasilof: Tustumena Elementary at Mile 111 Sterling Highway.
Kenai 1: Kenai Mall at 11312 Kenai Spur Highway.
Kenai 2: Old State Court Building at 145 Main Street Loop.
Kenai 3: Kenai Senior Citizens Center at 361 Senior Court.
Mackey Lake: Peninsula Center Mall at 44332 Sterling Highway.
Moose Pass: No polling place. Voters use mailed ballots.
Nikiski: Nikiski High School at Nikiski Beach Road.
Ninilchik: Ninilchik School at Mile 138 Sterling Highway.
Salamatof: Nikiski Fire Station No. 1 at Mile 17.9 Spur Highway.
Scout Lake: Sterling Fire Station at 35202 Sterling Highway.
Seldovia: Seldovia Library at 260 Seldovia St.
Seward: Seward City Hall at 5th and Adams.
Soldotna: Soldotna City Hall at 177 N. Birch.
Sterling: Sterling Senior Citizens Center at Mile 81.6 Sterling Highway.
Tyonek: No polling place. Voters use mailed ballots.
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