Update: After this story was posted, the Division of Elections conducted a review of challenged ballots. That challenge produced one vote for Republican candidate Bart LeBon that had reportedly not been count over an issue with the voter’s possible felony conviction (the voter turned out to be off probation). He’s officially up 2,663 to 2,662 over Democrat Kathryn Dodge . The candidates each have five days to file a legal challenge contesting the results of the race.
Today’s recount of the tied House District 1 race turned up two additional votes, one for Democrat Kathryn Dodge and one for Republican Bart LeBon. The race—which will help decide the balance of power in the Alaska House—is now tied 2,662 to 2,662. Alaska law requires tied races to be decided by lot, but there’s still the opportunity for a legal challenge to be filed between now and the flip of a coin.
Election law gives candidates five days from the recount to file a legal challenge.
Both candidates have brought on legal teams for the recount process, and the legal team representing Dodge have already outlined the case that the Division of Elections erred in rejecting two ballots that appear to have been cast for Dodge: a loose “mystery” ballot and a second “overvoted” ballot.
The Division of Elections reached a verdict on the loose “mystery” ballot that had dominated much of the discussion since the race narrowed after the election. The Division of Elections had determined that the ballot, which showed a vote for Dodge, should not be counted because it turned out to be a mistake ballot that was supposed to be destroyed.
The outcome on a second absentee ballot that had been registered as an “overvote”–an attempt to cast a vote for two candidates–that the Dodge legal team argued should be counted did not appear to come into play on Friday. The ballot has the ovals filled in for both Dodge and LeBon, but the LeBon oval has a “X” marked through it.
Previous legal cases argue that the state must be able to definitively prove that disqualified overvotes must show an intent to vote for both candidates, and makes the case that an “X” could show a voter’s intent to retract a vote.
Less is known about what ballots might be in the sights of the LeBon team, but he has told the Anchorage Daily News that he doesn’t want to see the race decided by coin flip.