Close races lead to recounts in North Slope election
There will be a recount of ballots from the Oct. 3 regular election on the North Slope. The current tallies show two assembly candidates ahead by fewer than five votes for their seats and would lead to a runoff election for mayor.
By Tuesday afternoon, at least one candidate had called for a check of the numbers to ensure the results are correct because of the close nature of these races.
As it currently stands, incumbent Mayor Harry Brower and leading opponent Frederick Brower will go to a runoff to determine the mayor's seat. They are the first and second place candidates but neither garnered a full 40 percent of the votes, which would have meant a clean win.
Harry Brower ended Election Day with 857 votes. Frederick Brower got 524. There were a total of 2,150 votes cast for this race, meaning a large number of votes were also divided among the other four candidates: Ned T. Arey Sr., William Hopson, Delbert J. Rexford, and James John Martin.
Should the current tallies stand, voters who supported these other four candidates will now have to decide which of the Browers to back. However, if the recount adds just three additional ballots to Harry's name, the two candidates will avoid a runoff.
As of the count Tuesday afternoon, Ned Arey Sr. led Kaktovik and Nuiqsut, Delbert Rexford led Point Lay, and Harry Brower Jr. led Anaktuvuk Pass, Atqasuk, Point Hope, and Wainwright. Frederick Brower was neck and neck with Harry Brower in both the Browerville and Barrow precincts.
There was one assembly seat as contested as the mayor's race: Seat D, representing Utqiaġvik. Six candidates vied for that position including Josiah Patkotak, Garrett Nayokpuk, Robert Nageak, Robert Shears, Mary Patkotak and Bob Harcharek.
Mary Patkotak was in a narrow five-vote lead by the end of Tuesday's count with 24.92 percent of the total or 526 votes. Josiah Patkotak was just behind her with 24.68 percent or 521 votes.
Mary Patkotak carried Anaktuvuk Pass, Atqasuk, Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, Point Hope, Point Lay and Wainwright. Josiah Patkotak carried the Barrow precinct and the Browerville precinct. Nageak was second in Browerville while Harcharek was third. Mary Patkotak came in fourth in that precinct.
The last race with extremely close counts was for Seat F on the assembly. Just four votes and a fraction of a percent separated Abel Hopson-Suvlu and Vernon A. Edwardsen by Tuesday's count. Edwardsen was in the lead with 1,036 votes or 49.43 percent. Hopson-Suvlu had 1,032 votes or 49.24 percent.
Edwardsen carried Anaktuvuk Pass, Atqasuk, Kaktovik, Point Hope and Wainwright. Hopson-Suvlu carried the Barrow precinct, the Browerville precinct and Nuiqsut. The candidates were tied in Point Lay.
Newcomer Herman Ahsoak won Seat E running unopposed. He earned 96.54 percent of the votes or 2,010 votes. There were 72 write-ins.
Incumbent Doreen Ahgeak Lampe will keep her seat. She also ran unopposed and garnered 94.62 percent. There were 110 write-ins.
Finally, incumbent Steve Alzred Oomittuk will keep his seat. He ran unopposed and won 96.33 percent of the votes. There were 75 write-ins.
These results were not certified by the assembly on Tuesday, though they were reviewed by the canvass committee. There will be a hand recount this week, followed by another canvass committee review. The assembly anticipates certifying the recount results, hopefully, by the end of this week.