Recount finds 11-vote win for Alaska state House race

2020 Election

Democrat Liz Snyder, second from left, is shown during a recount on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, in Juneau, Alaska, in a race for an Anchorage House seat that certified results showed she won by 13 votes over Republican House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt. Also shown, from left, are attorney Joe Geldhof, a representative for the group that requested the recount; Holly Wells, an attorney for Snyder and attorney Stacey Stone, another representative for the group that requested the recount. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A recount Friday affirmed a win by Democrat Liz Snyder over Republican House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt for an Anchorage House seat, though her margin of victory narrowed slightly.

Results certified Monday showed Snyder had defeated Pruitt by 13 votes. But Friday’s recount showed an 11-vote margin of victory, with 4,574 for Snyder and 4,563 for Pruitt. This year’s election was a rematch from 2018, when Snyder lost to Pruitt.

The recount was not requested by Pruitt but by 11 others identified in their petition as voters in the Anchorage House district. State law allows a defeated candidate or 10 qualified voters who believe a mistake was made in the ballot count to request a recount.

Pruitt by text message Friday said the encouragement he had received “led me to believe that there was no one better to request this recount than those who kept reaching out asking how they could help. I am humbled by their continued and unwavering support!”

Two attorneys representing the recount request group, Joe Geldhof and Stacey Stone, attended the recount in Juneau, as did Snyder and Holly Wells, an attorney for Snyder. The count was being conducted by members of a bipartisan review board, said Tiffany Montemayor, a spokesperson for the state Division of Elections.

More than 9,000 votes were cast in the race. Absentee ballots went through the recount process twice after the tallies during the initial recount were off from the certified results. Pruitt ultimately picked up an absentee vote and Snyder lost one in the final recount.

Neither the House nor the Senate has organized ahead of the next regular session, which starts in January. In Alaska, the chambers don’t necessarily organize along party lines. Personalities and policy positions can also factor in.

Separately, Montemayor said an audit of a statewide ballot measure that narrowly passed last month would begin Monday. The audit was sought by Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, who oversees elections. Meyer has said the audit is intended to help put to rest questions some have raised about the validity of election results tied to the vote tabulation equipment the state uses.

The measure, which would end party primaries and institute ranked-choice voting for general elections, passed with 174,032 votes, compared to 170,251 no votes, according to the certified results. Meyer has said he believes the measure passed fairly.

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the measure has been filed.

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