Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has vetoed an ordinance recently passed by the assembly, expanding the number of ways to cast a ballot in borough elections.
In his memo to the assembly, Pierce questioned the security of voting by mail, one of the main features of the ordinance. He said such a significant change to the borough’s voting procedures shouldn’t be left to the assembly, but rather, put to a vote of the public. Pierce said that such changes would directly impact “the fundamental right to vote.”
Assemblymember Willy Dunne of Fritz Creek said the Election Stakeholders Group already answered Pierce’s questions. He added there had been no opposition to the recommendations, which have resolutions of approval from every city in the borough, until just recently.
Six votes are needed to override Pierce’s veto.
The ordinance passed on a 6-to-3 vote, with only assembly members Kenn Carpenter of Seward, Norm Blakely of Sterling, and Jessie Bjorkman of Nikiski arguing against its passage. The three are also sponsors of a ballot initiative in an effort to get the expanded voting ordinance repealed by the voters if the veto stands.
The assembly may attempt to overturn a veto within 21 days of it being made, but Assembly President Kelly Cooper told KBBI it is sure to come up during Tuesday night’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting. You can listen to it live here on KBBI at 7 p.m.