The power of a single vote is being felt in Alaska, where one vote gave a Republican state House candidate victory over his Democratic rival.
A Friday recount of the Nov. 6 election began with Republican Bart LeBon and Democrat Kathryn Dodge tied at 2,661 votes each. Dodge gained one vote, but LeBon picked up two votes to emerge the winner, 2,663 votes to 2,662 votes, the Juneau Empire reported.
Dodge has until Wednesday to file an appeal of the recount with Alaska’s state Supreme Court. On Friday she said she would “think things over.”
LeBon said that after weeks of both sides filing challenges, he expects another one.
“I don’t think it’s over,” LeBon said. “Do you? I’m pretty sure this has got another layer to it. I would be thrilled if it was over, but is this over? I just don’t think so.”
Although state elections director Josie Bahnke had said she had wanted every vote counted, LeBon said he did not expect what ensued.
“I thought after the election, it would settle out, the dust would settle out fairly quickly, and then I never dreamed three weeks later we’d all be here together in Juneau still hammering it out. So I learned a lot,” he said, according to KTOO.
If the results hold, Republicans will have a 21-19 majority in the Alaska House in addition to control of the state Senate and the governor’s office. If Dodge had won, the House would be in a 20-20 tie.
— Patrick (@cahulaan) December 1, 2018
Two disputed ballots were central to the drama. One, officials said, was a ballot for Dodge that should have been destroyed on Election Day because a special needs voter had made an error voting and required a second paper ballot.
The other disputed ballot belonged to an ex-offender whose vote for LeBon had originally been rejected, but was restored after officials learned he was, in fact, eligible to vote because his probation had ended.
“People kept calling it close,” Dodge has said, according to the New York Post.“I just didn’t know it was going to be squeaky.”
If no winner had been declared in the recount, the winner would have been determined by the toss of a coin.
Current Alaska House speaker, Democrat Bryce Edgmon, won a 2006 primary through a coin toss.
That experience is “not something I would wish for anybody to go through,” he said.
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