Dodge says 4 ballots need Supreme Court scrutiny
Democrat Kathryn Dodge said in an appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court that the Division of Elections made mistakes with four ballots during a Friday recount that gave Republican Bart LeBon a one-vote victory in the Fairbanks House race.
The 18-page appeal filed by Anchorage attorney Patrick Munson identified two ballots that should not have been included and two others that should not have been excluded.
The errors resulted “in a certified election result that does not represent the will of the qualified voters of House District 1.”
Dodge lost a Friday recount to LeBon 2,663 to 2,662. On Wednesday morning, she announced her intent to appeal.
Dodge claims two included ballots were cast by people who did not live in her Fairbanks district.
One of those ballots came from a physician whose registration reflected a commercial office park address. The physician has since provided a written statement that he lives in a different district, according to the appeal.
The second ballot was cast by a woman who listed an auto repair shop in her registration, but Dodge writes there is no evidence the voter has been a House District 1 resident at least 30 days before the election.
She also claims two ballots should not have been excluded.
The first ballot was deemed an overvote because both ovals were darkened, then the over placed an X through the oval next to Lebon’s name.
“The crossed-out oval does not constitute a valid ‘mark’ in favor of LeBon under Alaska law and the voter’s intent to vote for Ms. Dodge can be determined. Therefore the ballot should not have been excluded as over-voted from the recount for the State Representative District 1 race, but instead counted as a vote for Ms. Dodge.”
A second excluded ballot should have been counted because the man who cast the ballot lived in the district, adding the Division of Elections improperly changed his registration based on his Permanent Fund dividend application.
No court date has been set for the appeal.
What's at stake for each candidate is a possible seat with the House majority for the next two years.
Less than 24 hours after the Nov. 6 election polls closed, LeBon joined Republicans for an announcement declaring a majority caucus that would feature new House Speaker Dave Talerico, R-Healy.
Even if LeBon prevails, the majority remains slim — only 20 members appeared at a brief news conference announcing the majority.
Gabrielle LeDoux was not invited to the caucus; Louise Stutes was also absent, though Talerico said an invitation was extended.
Stutes and LeDoux are members of a Democratic-led majority, an alignment that got them crosswise with the Republican party. David Eastman did not appear at the Nov. 7 caucus announcement and later said he has not committed to certain conditions of the caucus.
A Dodge victory, however, would give the Democrats 17 members. Should independent Dan Ortiz of Ketchikan remain in the caucus along with LeDoux and Stutes, the two groups could be at loggerheads with 20 members each.
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