Republicans to Election Division: Don’t certify District 40



Exactly two weeks after the polls closed for the Alaska Primary Election, the Alaska Republican Party has weighed in on the illegal voting procedures that have been identified across District 40 and 38.

Tuckerman Babcock
Tuckerman Babcock, Alaska Republican Party chairman.

Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock sent a letter to Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke, in which he told Bahnke that certifying the election in District 40 would be a serious mistake. The entire letter is found at the Alaska Republican Party website.

“While the numerous errors and illegal procedures are deplorable, thankfully only one election decision hangs in the balance.  Who actually won the State House Democratic Primary in District 40?  The voters tried, but the election was handled so poorly that now no one knows.

“If you cannot actually determine the winner of a primary, you must not certify the election.  That would be a travesty and it would condone the repeated illegal instructions given by the official election clerks,” the Alaska GOP letter reads.

The letter was a clear indication that Alaska Republicans are serious about keeping their primary ballot from becoming a political tool of opposing Democrats who would jump over and vote that ballot in order to advance a weak Republican candidate into the general election.

Alaska law allows political parties to select who may participate in their party’s primary. To change their primary participants, parties must submit a written notice to the Division of Elections before Sept. 1 of the year prior to the year in which the primary election is to be held.

There are currently two separate ballot choices, unless there is a ballot measure, in which case a third ballot is provided.

  • ADL ballot, which contains the Alaska Democratic Party, Alaska Libertarian Party and Alaskan Independence Party Candidate. All registered voters may vote this ballot.
  • Alaska Republican Party Candidate ballot. Registered Republican, Nonpartisan or Undeclared voters may vote this ballot; and
  • the Ballot Measures Only ballot – any registered voter may vote this ballot.


Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott was in Yakutat, but was said to be in travel status and unavailable for the hearing on voting irregularities.
Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott was in Yakutat, but was said to be in travel status and unavailable for the hearing on voting irregularities.

Earlier this week, Director Bahnke said she would have the election certified by this Friday. Meanwhile, her boss, the lieutenant governor, has been nowhere to be seen.

He was traveling to a Federal Reserve meeting in Wyoming, and then was spotted with a group of people in Yakutat, flying around on a private jet.

But he did not make himself available to the following day’s meeting of the House and Senate State Affairs Committee, which conducted a hearing about the voting irregularities.

The Governor of Alaska, Bill Walker, has also been completely silent on the election, although the governor himself flew to Kotzebue earlier this summer to raise money for candidate Dean Westlake, who currently has a 21-vote lead over Ben Nageak.

The lieutenant governor, the governor and his private-sector surrogate, lawyer Robin Brena, raised tens of thousands of dollars for Westlake and are now in the awkward position of having their first statewide primary election end badly with allegations of incompetence or fraud, and possibly be headed for a do-over.


In 1992, the Alaska Republican Party of Alaska challenged the constitutionality of Alaska’s “blanket primary” sytem. Through a series of court cases that ended in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000, the matter was finally settled so that Republicans could maintain their voting strength with their own party ballot. The case ended hinging on the First Amendment right of the freedom of association: Political parties have the right to offer voting to members of the party, and not to the general electorate. Democrats have kept their ballot open to all parties because without additional voters from the Green Party, Alaska Independence Party or Libertarians, the Democrats would not be able to advance enough candidates.

Republicans open their ballots to those who are undeclared or nonaligned.

Other stories on this election are here:

District 40 election ‘illegal’ — may be certified anyway

Unbelievable: Byron Mallot declares election a success