The state Elections Division has certified two legislative election contests that Democrats now lead. At least one recount is likely.
Republican Bob Bell has said he would request a recount of his race against Anchorage Sen. Hollis French, who leads by 51 votes. (French=7593. Bell=7542.)
French had a 54-vote lead on Friday, when the last of the absentee ballots were counted.
He was ahead by 250 votes for Senate District J on election night, but Bell gained considerable ground during the count of outstanding ballots. Bell said it’s frustrating to come so close to winning, so he will request a recount:
“You never know. What are we talking about — point 3 percent,” Bell said. “So that’s like three votes per precinct, so it wouldn’t take much of a mistake to make a difference.”
Meanwhile, Democrat Jonathon Kreiss-Tomkins of Sitka gained two votes in the certification process. The final tally of votes in the House District 34 race puts Haines Republican Rep. Bill Thomas 34 votes behind. (Kreiss-Tomkins=4125. Thomas=4091.)
Thomas also is expected to request a recount.
The recounts would be free because the candidates are separated by less than half a percent.
Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai says a request for a recount must be received by Nov. 28.
Elections officials then have five days to complete the recount.
- A lawsuit filed in federal court this week seeks to remove the residency requirement for people gathering signatures for state ballot initiatives.
- For the second time in two years, a Skagway political figure has been ordered to pay a fine for incomplete financial disclosures. Assembly hopeful Dan Henry failed to disclose substantial debt on his candidate paperwork. He will still be able to run for office in the upcoming election.
- Administration officials have a mouthful of a name for it: the “capped hybrid head tax.” It's a flat 1.5 percent of wages and self-employment income, with a maximum of twice the value of that year's Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.
- A federal district court has sided with conservationists fighting to preserve the U.S. Forest Service's "roadless rule" that limits road building in national forests. Alaska conservationists opposed to expanded logging in Tongass National Forest hailed the ruling as a victory.