Juneau, Alaska – That special elementary school Alaska’s only seat in the US House of Representatives advanced as planned on Saturday after a tense legal battle over ballot access issues cast a shadow over the election.
The legal drama was the latest twist in an already extraordinary election in which 48 candidates ran for the vacant seat of US Rep. Don Young, who died in March. Young, a Republican, held the seat for 49 years.
The state elections department released the first vote counts from the elections, which were conducted primarily by mail, late Saturday. Saturday marked the first ballot count; Further counts are planned for Wednesday and Friday, with the final count taking place on June 21st.
The first results showed former Republican governor Sarah Palin with 29.8%; Republican Nick Begich with 19.3%; independent Al Gross with 12.5% and Democrat Mary Peltola with 7.5%.
Republican Tara Sweeney had 5.3%, while a self-proclaimed “independent progressive democratic socialist” named Santa Claus had 4.5%.
The early tally released by the division was 108,729 votes. It was not clear how many ballots were outstanding; The division reported late Friday afternoon that it had received about 130,000 ballots. The ballot papers had to be stamped by Saturday.
Saturday’s election was the first under a voter-approved system in 2020 that ends party primaries and uses ranking voting in general elections.
The top four candidates from the special primaries will advance to a special election in August, which will be conducted by ranked voting.
The Associated Press did not name winners in the special primaries.
Palin released a statement thanking all of my wonderful supporters who voted to make Alaska great again!
Earlier Saturday, the Alaskan Supreme Court overturned and reversed a lower court order that had barred state election officials from confirming primary election results until visually impaired voters were given a “full and fair” opportunity to participate.
Prosecutors had interpreted Order from Friday by Supreme Court Justice Una Gandbhir, who prevented election officials from completing voting on Saturday as scheduled. They asked the Supreme Court to reverse the order.
The verdict came in a case filed days earlier by Robert Corbisier, executive director of the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights. Corbisier is suing state election officials on behalf of an individual identified as BL, a registered voter in Anchorage with a visual impairment.
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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/12/alaska-tallies-us-house-primary-after-ballot-access-fight/ Alaska counts the US House of Representatives after a fight over ballot access