Nageak vs. Mallott: What now? - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, January 22, 2022
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Nageak vs. Mallott: What now?

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Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi had harsh things to say about the badly performing Alaska Division of Elections. To remedy the mismanagement of the primary in District 40, he threw 14 votes out from the disastrous, poorly run Aug. 16 primary.

Judge Guidi published his decision on Thursday and Rep. Ben Nageak emerged the winner by just two votes.

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott decided he’d take the matter to the Alaska Supreme Court because as a partisan Democrat, he and Gov. Walker want nothing more than to get rid of Nageak and replace him with challenger Dean Westlake.

Oral arguments begin at 10 am on Wednesday.

WHERE DOES IT GO FROM HERE? Will the Supreme Court reverse the decision? Not likely, our experts tell Must Read. After all, the remedy arrived at by Judge Guidi is the same one that the Supreme Court settled on in Finkelstein vs. Stout.

Further, if the Supreme Court decides the contest should be re-voted on the November General Election ballot, it would be creating a brand new election condition that in no way mirrors a primary, where people must choose between the R ballot and the ADL ballot. A ruling like that could very well go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A second challenge of the election will be heard this week in the Alaska Supreme Court. It is an appeal by Nageak of the actual state recount that led to the original eight-vote win by Westlake.

Meanwhile, Mallott reassured the public in a written statement that he will abide by the Alaska Supreme Court’s ruling. Using the “royal we,” he said:

We are disappointed that the Superior Court ruled that a poll worker error in Shungnak was sufficient to change the outcome of the House District 40 Primary Election. We have already appealed the ruling to the Alaska Supreme Court. We want absolute clarity on the issues involved and will follow whatever measures the Supreme Court deems appropriate in order to secure a fair election for the two Democratic legislative candidates in House District 40.”

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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