Updated election results show Measure 1 with slim victory

Associated PressSeptember 4, 2012 

Updated results from last week's primary show a ballot measure concerning property taxes passing by a slim margin.

Just 284 votes separated the two sides, with 58,014, or 50.1 percent, voting for Ballot Measure 1, and 57,730, or 49.9 percent, voting against it, according to unofficial results the state released Tuesday.

The measure would make it legal for local governments to exempt the first $50,000 worth of a homeowner's property from taxes. Currently, local governments can exempt up to $20,000 of the value of owner-occupied housing from property taxes, with voter approval.

A supporter of the measure, former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker, has said the initiative would reduce taxes for homeowners, while Anchorage City Assessor Marty McGee, an opponent, has said it would benefit only some homeowners at the expense of renters, businesses and owners of less expensive homes.

In other races, Sen. Bettye Davis of Anchorage had a 133-vote edge over former state Rep. Harry Crawford in the Democratic primary for Senate District M. Davis had 1,433 votes, or 52 percent of the vote, and Crawford 1,300 votes, or 48 percent.

Fifty-three votes separated Benjamin Nageak and Greta Schuerch in the Democratic primary for the Arctic-region House District 40. Nageak had 653 votes, or 36 percent of the vote, while Schuerch had 600 votes, or 33 percent. There were two other Democrats in that contest. The winner is vying to succeed state Rep. Reggie Joule, D-Kotzebue, who did not seek re-election.

Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said there are additional absentee and questioned ballots to count, though she could not immediately say how many. Those counts are to be conducted this week, she said.

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