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More votes counted as District 15 problems grow

(KTUU)
Published: Aug. 31, 2018 at 7:05 PM AKDT
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As election officials on Friday counted absentee and questioned ballots that were still pending from the Aug. 21 primary, they pushed back the target date for certifying final results from Saturday to Tuesday, in part because some “materials” failed to arrive on time.

Questions of possible election fraud in House District 15 also won’t go away.

In newly released information, a voter registration list provided Friday by the Elections Division shows that 17 people were registered to vote at a single trailer at Space 166 in a Muldoon mobile home park. Another nine were registered at Space 150.

The residences are in the Rangeview Mobile Home Park on Muldoon Road.

The registrations are significant because elections officials set aside more than two dozen absentee ballots in the district that they said were “suspect.” Another seven ballots were sought in the names of dead Alaskans, elections officials said. The division never sent out those absentee ballots, it said in a statement.

The elections division said it has referred the case to a state prosecutor, but no charges were filed as of Friday.

The state says the 26 suspect absentee ballots were cast for the Republican incumbent, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux. She’s represented the district for years, and last year angered the Republican establishment in the state by joining the Democratic-led House majority.

On election night, LeDoux was behind her Republican primary opponent, Aaron Weaver, by three votes. But when absentee and questioned ballots were counted earlier this week, she led by 113 votes — 87 if the ballots deemed “irregular” were subtracted. The state’s elections website says she gained a couple more votes on Friday.

The Republican Party chairman, Tuckerman Babcock, said LeDoux should be investigated, but LeDoux says that Babcock has no evidence of wrongdoing — and in any event, she’s done nothing wrong, she said.

Meanwhile Weaver has faced questions of his own. One blogger asked whether Weaver actually lives in House District 15, alleging his primary residence is actually downtown in House District 20. Weaver denied those allegations, and showed a reporter receipts and a sworn statement as evidence he lives in an apartment in the district.

In any event, the time has long past for an official challenge to his residency, and none have been filed, according to division spokeswoman Samantha Miller.

“The last day to file a complaint regarding Mr. Weaver’s eligibility would have been on or before Monday, June 11th,” she said in an email statement.

“I’m in full compliance,” said Weaver, a former KTUU photographer.

In other updated results, Sen. Peter Micciche, a Republican from Soldotna, increased his lead over challenger Ronald Gillham, an oil worker, to 74 votes, two more than previously reported. Another Kenai Peninsula race, though, got tighter by a vote — Benjamin Carpenter led Wayne Ogle by a dozen votes in the bid to replace former House speaker Mike Chenault, who is retiring.

Elections Division Director Josie Bahnke said the results released Friday are “final.”

Once the election is certified, she said, “a defeated candidate or 10 qualified voters may file an application within 5 days after the certification to the director for a recount of the votes for a precinct or House District.”