Curiouser and curiouser: Delayed primary results

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott on a site visit to Manakotok on Election Day.


Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott on a site visit to Manakotok on Election Day.
Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott on a site visit to Manakotok on Election Day.

It’s late at night, Friday, August 26, and still no official count of questioned ballots and final results have been posted by the Division of Elections.

This is 10 days and a few hours after the primary election came to a close, and the uncertainty in the District 40 race between incumbent Rep. Ben Nageak and challenger Dean Westlake is still unresolved.

Word on the street is that Westlake has won the questioned ballots by 21. The count is Westlake 819 Nageak 798.

There were 39 questioned ballots that were being allowed as part of the count.

But at this point, the public will never know how that race really went. There were so many irregularities across the district, that it will become part of history books; the sham of the primary of 2016 will be taught in college political science courses. Someone will do a master’s thesis on it.

One hopes that they’ll know that Republicans in District 40 who wanted to vote the Democratic ballot were made to fill out a questioned ballot form first. That was clearly improper.

Was it voter suppression?

Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging people from voting or creating unnecessary barriers.

Are the delays reporting the results a way to discourage media scrutiny?

Were there extra ballots that needed to be found to ensure a Westlake victory?

It’s clear as mud. The primary election, with its 105 percent turnout in Newtok and its double ballots in Shungak and Chefornak does not meet the standard of a free and fair election.

Will the Department of Justice care enough about the disenfranchised voters to send in officials now?

Or will Alaskans always remember August 2016 as the year that every vote counted, but some just counted more than others.