Sitka voters reject proposal to opt-out of statewide smoking ban

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — Voters in Sitka rejected a proposal in Tuesday's election to opt-out of the new statewide smoking ban, which went into effect Monday, according to unofficial results.

Sitka City Clerk Sara Anderson said voters rejected the opt-out proposal by a margin of 56 percent voting no to 44 percent voting yes. The vote totals were 1,053 in favor of the opt-out proposal, and 1,339 opposed.

Local ordinances in Sitka allowed bars and private clubs to permit smoking, as long as no one under the age of 19 was allowed into the businesses. The vote Tuesday means the community will abide by the new state law, which bans smoking in bars and private clubs, as well as other businesses.

Proposition 2 was placed on the ballot by a citizen-led petition.

Anderson said there are approximately 500 absentee ballots still to be counted on Friday, but she said based on previous election patterns, she does not anticipate those ballots will change the eventual outcome. The election results are expected to be certified next Tuesday.