As early Election Day results roll in, some races are beginning to take shape

Election official Dylan Proudfoot helps John Mallorca feed his ballot into a ballot box at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library in Juneau on Nov. 3, 2020. Mallorca just turned 21 and said this is the first time he’s voted. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

With many ballots still to be counted, some races have started to take shape after early results in Alaska’s Election Day tally.

With nearly 70% of precincts reporting, the state’s Division of Elections updated results a little before 1 a.m. Wednesday, showing a total of about 157,0000 votes cast statewide. With increased absentee by mail votes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 120,000 early absentee votes remain to be counted in a week, starting on Nov. 10.

Republicans lead at the top of the ballot, as Alaskans have so far favored President Donald Trump, incumbent U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and longtime Congressman Don Young, each with more than 60 percent of the vote in their respective races.

The early count shows voters rejecting both initiatives on the ballot.

Ballot Measure 1, aimed at changing state oil taxes, was down with nearly 65% of votes cast against it. It would have to get “yes” votes on more than 65% of remaining ballots to overcome the gap.

And Ballot Measure 2, which would overhaul the state’s elections, was failing with “no” votes amounting to nearly 57%When the remaining votes are counted, Ballot Measure 2 would need to take more than 56% of them in order to pass. 

Voters sign for their ballots at the Auk Bay precinct on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)
Voters sign for their ballots at the Auk Bay precinct on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

Some of the races that could determine who controls the Alaska House and Senate are also starting to come into focus. 

The state House currently has 23 Republicans, and it takes 21 seats to control the chamber. The Senate has 13 Republicans; 11 seats are needed to control it.

Several incumbent Democrats in the Alaska Legislature were behind Tuesday night.

  • Fairbanks’ District 5 state Rep. Adam Wool trailed Republican challenger Kevin McKinley slightly, 48% to 52%.
  • Anchorage Rep. Ivy Spohnholz was behind Republican challenger Paul Bauer 52-40%, with Libertarian Scott Kohlhaas taking nearly 9% of the votes.
  • Anchorage Rep. Chris Tuck is trailing Republican challenger Kathy Hensley who holds nearly 52% of the vote. Alaska Independence Party candidate Timothy Huitt has drawn just under 10% of the vote in that race.
  • Anchorage Sen. Bill Wielechowski was behind Republican challenger Madeleine Gaiser, who took a little more than 51%.

Initial results showed Supreme Court Justice Susan Carney overcoming a conservative coalition’s campaign against her, with 57% of voters favoring her retention.

These are preliminary results, and, as Alaska is the last state in the country to begin to count absentee ballots, the outcome of close races won’t be known for at least a week after Election Day.

Rashah McChesney

Daily News Editor

I help the newsroom establish daily news priorities and do hands-on editing to ensure a steady stream of breaking and enterprise news for a local and regional audience.

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