THE PLOT THICKENS WITH APPEARANCE OF A MAN NAMED CHARLIE CHANG…
Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux showed up at the Division of Elections office on Gambell Street this morning to oversee the counting of 147-odd absentee ballots that will determine her fate.
But at the end of the day, the election workers were not quite ready finish verifying the ballots to be counted — they had spent all day whittling down whether the ballots were from legitimate voters, had the correct dates of birth and signatures, and whether the voters were registered in the district and could be counted for her race at all.
Further complicating the count is another 78 ballots that the Division of Election has mysteriously held back for further review because of anomalies or discrepancies that the Election Review Board will also need to look at on Monday.
It appears that at least 50 of them are legitimate ballots for that district. More will dribble in on Monday, if the past is any indicator, so the math will change.
There are the questioned ballots to be evaluated. That process of evaluation begins Monday as well.
The race for House District 15 was anything but expected. It’s a three-vote race result so far that has Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, who had amassed over $100,000 in her campaign treasure chest, trailing behind newcomer Aaron Weaver, who spent less than $2,000.
LeDoux didn’t have to sweat the election, because her Republican opponent had simply disappeared after filing for office.
But by examining her campaign finances, it appears that toward the end of July, LeDoux wasn’t going to take any chances.
On July 19, LeDoux paid a man named Charlie Chang of Fresno, Calif. some $10,000 to go bounty hunting for votes in the low-turnout district.
She also bought him a plane ticket to come from Fresno to Anchorage to work on the get-the-vote project, although no additional travel and lodging expenses are accounted for on her report. It’s a good guess that he stayed with family.
Of course, vote bounty hunting is not illegal unless Chang was paying people for their absentee ballots. But to be fair, that is not what the above APOC report shows.
It shows that for $10,000 and an unknown amount of time, Chang was acting as a translator and strategist, and for getting the vote out among “various ethnic communities in Muldoon.” Chang’s mailing address is in Fresno, California, but he is also registered to vote in at a trailer park on Muldoon Road, where multiple absentee votes were received from three or four trailers.
From one trailer, there were seven ballots that were received by the Division of Elections. Five of them were deemed not to count, because the people were not were not registered in the district.
In fact, there were 23 Changs who requested who used one of two trailers for their addresses.
How many of those Chang-acquired votes are legitimate is part of the game for deciding which votes get counted among the universe of absentee ballots.
At the end of the day, no resolution on the election results could be determined, but the number of absentee ballots that appear to be accepted and ready to be counted is 73.
For those ballots that are deemed to be legitimate for the district race (some were rejected for the district race but could be counted for the statewide race) it appears the number is down to 63.
Fifty-seven of those are Republican ballots.
The race now stands at Aaron Weaver-294, and Gabrielle LeDoux-291. Splitting up the universe of 57 votes is crunch time for LeDoux.
LeDoux needs 31 of those 57 Republican ballots to win by one vote. It seems likely she’ll prevail, since she spent over $73,000 for the 291 votes that she got, including the $10,000 she gave to Charlie Chang to bag some votes for her.
Another unknown factor is how many questioned ballots there are. The Division has that number, but has not released it yet.