Bart LeBon has won the Fairbanks District 1 House race by one vote.
If he survives a court challenge by Democrats over the vote counting, he’ll be heading back to Juneau in January as the newest House representative. He’s been in Juneau for the past 24 hours to observe the ballot recount for the seat.
Before today, the election had been certified as a tie with Democrat Kathryn Dodge, 2,661 to 2,661. Then it was 2,662 to 2,662. And by 3:20, the final tally was 2,263 to 2,662.
The fate of the House of Representatives power structure depends largely on this seat. Without it, there would be no majority for either the Democrats or Republicans.
Amazingly, the vote that decided the matter came from a felon, whose vote was challenged by the Democrats who were observing the process today. They thought he didn’t have his voting rights restored. Then the ballot was also challenged by Republicans for the same reason.
The felon was automatically registered when he filed for his Permanent Fund dividend.
The Division of Elections looked into it and said the felon had had his voting rights restored. They decided to count the ballot.
It was for LeBon.
LeBon said he was impressed by the professionalism of the Division of Elections. But he also expects a court challenge from the Democrats.
“With elections law, this world is still really new to me. I thought after the election the dust would settle out really quickly. I never dreamed three weeks later we’ve be here in Juneau, hammering it all out,” he said. He said he has learned a lot about elections in recent weeks.
“I had an expectation that when folks step into the booth they vote the whole ballots. I discovered a lot of people will skip races. I didn’t expect to see as much of that as we did.”