FAIRBANKS RACE MAY GO TO COIN TOSS AFTER ALL
The 2018 General Election has been certified, and the District 1 House seat is officially a tie at 2,661 each for Bart LeBon and Kathryn Dodge.
Earlier, the Division of Elections had indicated it was going to accept a stray ballot that showed up over the weekend, without proper documentation. That would have given the race to Kathryn Dodge by one vote.
Either way, the race is going to be recounted on Friday, which will be done by machine in Juneau.
The recount could change the results again and both the Alaska Democratic Party and the Alaska Republican Party are gearing up for legal action.
It appears likely that one side or the other will file a challenge to the results, which will delay the organization of the House of Representatives. Republicans had a slight margin when LeBon was in the lead last week, but that lead evaporated when seven more votes were added to the total — six for Dodge, and one for LeBon.
The recount will be done at state expense. If it’s still a tie, the race can be decided by a coin toss or other “by lot” means.
The Division of Elections released this statement today:
The bi-partisan State Review Board and State of Alaska Division of Elections have certified the 2018 General Election. This includes certification of the House District 1 race as a tie between candidates Kathryn Dodge and Barton LeBon, following a thorough review.
The State Review Board has inspected and hand counted every ballot from the district, with the exception of one ballot which is currently being investigated further to determine whether or not it will be counted. The ballot was included with questioned ballot materials, but there was no questioned ballot envelope to account for the ballot. The State Review Board members tasked with reviewing the ballots from House District 1 found that the ballot appears to be a marked ballot for candidate Dodge, but no determination will be made until the division has all of the necessary information about the ballot’s origin.
“As election officials, it is our job to ensure that we have all of the facts before moving forward with a conclusion and that every vote is counted accurately,” said State Elections Director Josie Bahnke. “In certifying House District 1 as a tie, an automatic recount will be conducted on Friday morning. This allows the division more time to investigate the ballot in question before making a determination on whether or not it should count.”
The ballot has not been included in Monday’s results, but could still be counted during the recount depending on investigation findings. Election officials met with the candidates and all members of the State Review Board Monday morning to discuss certification and the next steps moving forward.
If the results of the recount re-confirm the tie, the prevailing candidate will be determined by lot under AS15.15.460 and AS 15.20.530.
The recount for House District 1 will take place in the director’s office in Juneau on Friday, November 30 at 10 a.m. Any additional absentee ballots received between now and completion of the recount will be counted as required by state law AS 15.20.480.
Official results are now available on the Division of Elections website.