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Votes Certified, Emmonak’s Struggle with Alcohol Continues

Emmonak's local option law was changed via special election vote, but then 34 votes were ineligible... Photo Credit: Creative Commons
Emmonak's local option law was changed via special election vote, but then 34 votes were ineligible... Photo Credit: Creative Commons

It’s official. According to the City Clerk, Emmonak will remain a damp community.

Certified results from the recent local option election were 122 votes in favor of keeping alcohol in Emmonak while 103 votes were against. Originally there were six questioned ballots, which were determined to be invalid. The community has a total of 502 eligible voters according to city officials.

Emmonak’s City Clerk, Mona Andrews has worked for the community during its last two local option elections. 

“The first outcome, I thought it would pass, it was so close. The second round I was disappointed again. This time I had put signs everywhere in Emmonak to make sure people knew. I’m just sad that the results turned out for Emmonak to still be damp.”

Despite voter turnout for this election, Andrews says it’s her impression that the majority of people in the community still want it to go back to being a dry place. She says the City of Emmonak is working on ways to remove bootleggers and address regional concerns over alcohol in the community.

According to Andrews, surrounding villages as far away as Mountain Village have complained about the negative effects alcohol from Emmonak is having on their residents. Emmonak’s tribal leaders and stakeholders plan on holding community discussions regarding alcohol.

Going forward Andrews expects there will be more local option elections held in the community. According to Alaska Statutes, Emmonak can start a new petition to hold another election as soon as the past results have been certified.

Image at Top: provided by Creative Commons.

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