Lessens maintains lead over Eledge in Anchorage School Board recount preliminary results

A recount in the race for Anchorage School Board seat B shows Kelly Lessens still ahead of Judy Eledge by 223 votes, according to a copy of the preliminary results provided by the Lessens campaign and verified by the city clerk.

Vote tallies changed slightly in the recount, with Eledge gaining five votes, including one write-in vote. The results are not official until they are certified by the Anchorage Assembly.

In the Anchorage Elections Center on Monday, candidates and their teams crowded around two monitors displaying voted ballots as the city clerk conducted the recount.

The Anchorage municipal clerk’s office will also recount the election results for school board seat E on Tuesday, according to a notice from the clerk’s office.

Official election results certified last week have Pat Higgins winning the race for school board seat E with 32.92% of the vote, ahead of opponent Sami Graham, with just a 0.57% margin, or 369 votes. Graham has 32.35% of the vote.

Higgins’ lead is over the 0.5% or less margin, according to municipal code, requires an automatic recount.

Still, the clerk’s office in its notice said that Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones is taking the initiative to conduct a recount because “in the Clerk’s judgement, conducting a recount may increase voter confidence in the election process.”

[Anchorage election results are certified and ballots are in the mail for the mayoral runoff. Here’s what happens next.]

The recount will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to the notice.

A recount means that the city’s vote tabulation system again counts the ballots for that particular race, and ballots that need adjudication are again adjudicated.

Adjudication happens after the computer software processing the ballots detects an abnormal ballot. A person adjudicating a ballot applies the relevant municipal code to try to determine the voter’s intent, verifying the vote with human eyes.

The recount is a way to check for errors in the original adjudication and ballot tabulation process. The clerk will explain any differences found between the original election results and the recount results.

It is also a way for campaigns to challenge the adjudication of ballots. If a campaign disagrees with the way municipal code requires a ballot be interpreted, the campaign can keep track of those ballots. It can then determine whether the number of ballots it has challenged could have an impact in the outcome of the race if the voter’s intent was interpreted differently.

Following the recounts, the municipal clerk and the election commission report the results to the Assembly, which then certifies the election results.