Forty polling places open today at 7 a.m. for the municipal elections of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the cities of Fairbanks and North Pole.

Twenty-three people are running for 13 elected positions, including mayor at both the borough and the city of North Pole.

Registered voters have until 8 p.m. to cast their ballots on who should be elected to the school board, Borough Assembly, Fairbanks City Council and more.

The winners will make decisions impacting people’s lives such as the amount of their tax bill, what their children study in school, the level of snow-plowing services, library hours, the wait time for an ambulance and what is allowed or prohibited on private land.

All registered voters in the borough can vote in the borough election. To vote in the cities of Fairbanks or North Pole, one most reside in city limits.

A toll free number, 1-888-383-8683, is available to help people find their polling place. Voters can also go online and plug in their address at bit.ly/3l9YcoO to find out where to vote.

A driver’s license, voter registration card and passport are some of the acceptable forms of identification needed to vote, according to Borough Clerk April Trickey.

“If somebody is personally known, they may not have to show identification,” Trickey said.

If a voter can’t make it their polling place and votes at a different polling place, that ballot would be treated as a questioned ballot, which are set aside for extra review.

Ballots cast today and early votes will be counted after the polls close at 8 p.m., and unofficial results will be updated throughout the night on the borough webpage, www.fnsb.gov.

Absentee and questioned ballots are counted on Oct. 12 per borough code. Depending on how many of those ballots are cast, they may or may not change the outcome of the election.

Face masks and social distancing, to help prevent transmission of Covid-19, are recommended at polling places and will be required at polling places located in buildings, such as schools, where face masks are mandatory, Trickey said.

Voters who wish to avoid crowded polling places can send a representative to their polling place to fetch a special needs ballot. The representative can sign out a ballot and would also need to sign the envelope as a witness. Trickey said special needs ballots must be returned to the polling place by closing time at 8 p.m.

Here are the choices voters will be making today:

Fairbanks North Star Borough

Borough Mayor Bryce Ward will need to defeat Robert Shields and Chris Ludtke to win a second term, while a third challenger, Mary Caro Simmons, has recently launched a write-in campaign.

Borough Assembly Seat A has two hopefuls, David Guttenberg and Kevin McKinley, while the race for Seat F is between Savannah Fletcher and Patricia Silva. Seat G is also on the ballot with Kristan Kelly and Lance Roberts competing for votes.

The Board of Education has five candidates seeking two seats. Seat A is held by Erin Morotti, who is seeking a second term. Her challengers are Andrew Graham and Sally Gant. Seat B is help by Chrya Sanderson, who is also running for reelection. Jeffrey Rentzel is her challenger.

Jack Wilbur and Bob Shefchik are both uncontested candidates for the Interior Gas Utility Board of Directors.

Cities of Fairbanks and North Pole

Shoshana Kun is running for reelection to Seat A on the Fairbanks City Council. Her opponent is Jerry Cleworth. June Rogers is looking for a second term on Seat B with a challenge from Jonathan Bagwill.

In North Pole, incumbent Mike Welch is running for reelection against Thomas McGhee. David Skipps is the only candidate for two seats on the North Pole council.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 907-459-7545, at abohman@newsminer.com or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMborough.

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