The State Election Review Board on Friday reviewed all absentee ballots from House District 1, Fairbanks, with the exception of one ballot which is currently being investigated further to determine whether or not it will be counted.
Candidates Bart LeBon and Kathryn Dodge remain tied with 2,661 votes each after a review of about 600 absentees. The one questioned ballot has some irregularities about it, described by the Division as “loose with questioned ballot materials that had been placed in the emergency slot of the OS (optical scan) machine, but there was no questioned ballot envelope to account for the ballot.”
Who had access to that emergency slot and why there was a ballot placed in it brings into question a “chain of custody” question that could invalidate that ballot.
If the tie is certified, the division will conduct a recount in the director’s office in Juneau on Friday, November 30 at 10 a.m.
If the results of the recount re-confirm the tie, the prevailing candidate will be determined by lot under AS 15.15.460 and AS 15.20.530. That is indicated to be “by lot,” which is often conducted by a coin toss.
Friday’s audit of absentee ballots in Juneau was observed by Democrat candidate for District 1, Kathryn Dodge. The other Democratic observer was the winner of Senate Seat Q Juneau, Jesse Kiehl. There were no Republican observers who showed up for the audit.
Earlier this week, an audit of regular ballots yielded five more for Democrat Dodge and one more for Republican LeBon, bringing the race to a tie. Today’s audit of the absentees left that result unchanged.
Monday is when the Nov. 6 election will be certified, and then the recount of the District 1 race will be scheduled for Friday.