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Recount doubles Westlake's lead in election

September 16th 2:30 pm | Shady Grove Oliver, The Arctic Sounder Print this article   Email this article   Create a Shortlink for this article

Dean Westlake is still the winner of the House District 40 election following the official recount on Monday.

Before the recount he had a narrow four-vote lead — 819 to 815 — over incumbent Rep. Benjamin Nageak. After, that had swelled to eight with both candidates gaining votes in their favor.

The recount brought Westlake up to 825 votes and Nageak to 817.

"Observers representing both Democratic candidates were present to witness the process," said Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke in a Monday afternoon release.

The elections division conducted the complete House District 40 recount in Juneau at its headquarters.

"Ballots were recounted by five members of the bipartisan State Review Board and Division of Elections staff with the use of four optical scan units," Bahnke said. "Pursuant to Alaska Statute, one precinct was randomly selected by the State Review Board for hand count verification which was Noatak."

New figures were posted to the division's website later that day.

According to the new tallies, in total, Westlake gained six votes in the recount. Four came from additional question ballots for a total of 19 question in his favor. One came from an additional absentee, bringing that total to 44 in favor. The last one came from Selawik, where it was determined he actually got 68 votes, not 67 as previously counted.

Nageak gained two votes total in the recount. One was an additional question ballot, bringing his total to 16 in that category. The other came from Point Hope, where it was found he got 15 votes rather than 14 as first counted.

In accordance with Alaska Statute Sec. 15.20.510, from here the candidate or person who requested the recount may appeal to the courts if they have reason to believe an error has been made in the recount.

An appeal must be filed within five days of the completion of the recount. Should the court then order, the elections director must provide the record of the recount including ballots and other election materials, and "papers pertaining to the election contest."

"The appeal shall be heard by the court sitting without a jury. The inquiry in the appeal shall extend to the questions whether or not the director has properly determined what ballots, parts of ballots, or marks for candidates on ballots are valid, and to which candidate or division on the question or proposition the vote should be attributed," the statute states.

Whether or not a court appeal would take place had not been announced by deadline.


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