Election Coverage

State certifies HD34 result, clock ticking on recount

Sitka Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (left) and Haines Republican Rep. Bill Thomas (right).

Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai certified the House District 34 race Friday, which means a request for a recount must be made by Wednesday.

The totals changed slightly after the State Review Board looked at the race, but only very slightly. Sitka Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins picked up two votes. That puts the new total at 4,125 for Kreiss-Tomkins, and 4,091 for his opponent, Republican incumbent Bill Thomas, of Haines.

The race remains within the margin for a state-funded recount. Thomas said Friday he’s still considering whether to ask for one.

Fenumiai, meanwhile, said the two extra votes came from a Sitka precinct.

“The number of precinct registered signatures was greater than the number of cards cast, so the state review board ran the ballots and Mr. Kreiss-Tomkins gained two votes in that precinct,” Fenumiai said.

Small changes in vote counts sometimes happen, thanks to any number of variables, Fenumiai said.

“We have the issue with marginally marked ballots,” she said. “If the voting unit can’t detect there’s a mark in the oval, it won’t register it as a count. There are also issues with counted ballots jammed in readers, or uncounted ballots jammed in readers, and sometimes those messages get mixed up among the election workers. That’s the State Review Board’s job. That’s what they’re here for — to make sure things balance out.”

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