Candidates in two Anchorage School Board races maintain their leads after recounts

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 9:28 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Two candidates for seats on the Anchorage School Board have maintained their leads after slim margins prompted recounts in both races last month.

The official certified results of Anchorage’s April 6 municipal election showed Kelly Lessens as the winner for seat B on the school board, with 25,349 votes. The results also showed Pat Higgins winning seat E with 21,407 votes.

The race for seat B was then subject to an automatic recount on April 26, because Lessens’ lead over opponent Judy Eledge, who garnered 25,121 votes, was a margin of just 0.35%. Anchorage city code stipulates that a recount is required for any race in which a candidate wins by a margin of less than 0.5%.

While certified election results showed that Higgins won his race by a margin of more than 0.5%, the Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s Office still elected to conduct a recount. Higgins won by a margin of 0.57% against Sami Graham, who had 21,038 votes. That recount was conducted on April 27.

According to preliminary recount results provided by Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones, Lessens maintained her lead over Eledge. The recount added five votes for Eledge, including one additional write-in vote, reducing Lessens’ lead from 228 to 223. There were no changes to the vote tally for Lessens.

Preliminary results for the seat E recount also show Higgins maintaining his lead. The recount added two votes for Graham, including one write in, resulting in a total of 21,040 votes for her. The recount results left Higgins with 21,410 votes, including five write-in votes. His lead after the April 6 election was 369, and his lead after the recount is 370.

The results of the two recounts will become official when they are certified by the Anchorage Assembly.

Lessens and Higgins were both sworn in as new members at Monday’s meeting of the school board.

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