Typo narrows vote tally in Mat-Su race

Zaz Hollander

A clerical error has turned a Mat-Su Borough Assembly race into a nail-biter.

Just 23 votes now separate challenger Matthew Beck and incumbent Noel Woods in the race to represent District 2, which includes the Palmer area. Beck co-owns North Star Animal Hospital with his wife; Woods is a retired general contractor who has served one three-year term on the Assembly.

When polls closed Tuesday, Beck had a lot more breathing room. He held a 123-vote lead.

But when the borough's canvassing board started double-checking vote tallies Wednesday, they noticed a mistake, borough clerk Lonnie McKechnie said Thursday.

A borough elections staffer entering results on election night had typed in "114" instead of "14" votes for Beck from a precinct in District 2.

That makes the race too close to call. The borough issued nearly 300 absentee ballots and more than 100 questioned ballots in the precincts that make up District 2.

The borough will probably count votes Oct. 11 or Oct. 12, McKechnie said. The Assembly is scheduled to certify the election results on Oct. 15.

The other open borough Assembly seat, for District 1, was also a close one with Jim Sykes holding a 45-vote lead over Doug Glenn after polls closed but more than 100 absentee and more than a dozen questioned ballots issued.

Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.