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Races flip as Alaska’s primary elections absentee ballots are counted

The Division of Elections is counting absentee ballots for the 2020 primaries. (08/25/20)
The Division of Elections is counting absentee ballots for the 2020 primaries. (08/25/20)(KTUU)
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 4:36 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska’s absentee ballots are being counted for the Aug. 18 primary elections.

The first set of results were released by the Division of Elections on Tuesday afternoon, showing a few changes from what was known on election night.

Early voting results from across Anchorage were initially published on Tuesday but some absentee and questioned ballot counts from those districts will be released later. Early voting results, absentee votes and questioned ballots from Homer and two districts in Juneau were also published.

Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, had been trailing against John “Bear” Cox but he has now taken a 69 vote lead against his fellow Republican. Absentee and questioned ballots from the Kodiak part of Senate District P remain to be counted.

Anchorage Republican Sen. Natasha von Imhof has overtaken Stephen Duplantis and is close to 200 votes ahead.

North Pole Republican Sen. John Coghill narrowed the gap against fellow Republican Robert Myers and is behind by just eight votes. “It’s a very close race, there’s no doubt about it,” Coghill said.

Seven other Republican incumbents are currently trailing their challengers, some by seemingly insurmountable margins.

The winners of these primary races will appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Over 45,000 absentee ballots have been received for Alaska’s 2020 primaries, more than three times the amount that were cast for the state’s 2016 primaries. Ballots can continue arriving to be counted until Aug. 28.

Absentee ballots from districts across Western Alaska will not be counted on Tuesday. The Division of Elections said voter history checks still need to be completed in case someone voted twice.

Only Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, is in a contested primary in those impacted districts. Foster currently leads against Tyler Ivanoff by 41 votes.

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