The Alaska Division of Elections (DOE) counted a batch of early vote and questioned ballots in two close state House races this morning.
In District 27, Republican Rep. Lance Pruitt started the morning ahead of his Democratic challenger Harry Crawford by 121 votes. In the newly counted early votes, Crawford edged Pruitt by six votes (20 to 14), however, Pruitt picked up a net 14 votes among questioned ballots (44-30). That puts Pruitt now ahead of Crawford by 129 votes.
In the much closer District 25 race between Republican Rep. Charisse Millett and Democratic challenger Pat Higgins, Millett started the day up by a slim 45 vote margin. She then picked up 4 votes in questioned ballots (53-49) and another 3 votes in early votes (22-19) for a net gain of 7 votes. Millett now leads Higgins by 52 votes.
That may not seem like a lot but its better than a 45 vote lead and more importantly Higgins didn’t narrow the gap.
The numbers of ballots counted today was pretty small, but that is because they were primarily questioned ballots. According to DOE workers, most questioned ballots end up counting in statewide races, but not in state House races. This is because most people vote a questioned ballot because they are actually voting in the wrong district. Thus their ballots get thrown out in the House races, but not in the statewide races where they are still legally allowed to vote.
In the District 25 race, there were 504 questioned ballots. Only 102 of them ended up counting in that House race.
DOE officials said more ballots will be counted Wednesday and Friday.