Republican candidate LeBon joins court case reviewing contentious HD1 ballots

Democrat Kathryn Dodge and Republican Bart LeBon are both running for House District 1 in Fairbanks.(Dodge photo courtesy of Kathryn Dodge and LeBon photo courtesy of Bart LeBon)

The Republican candidate in the disputed House District 1 election is joining the court case reviewing the ballot count. Bart LeBon’s attorneys requested intervention in the case, originally filed by his opponent, Kathryn Dodge. LeBon is asking for six ballots to be reviewed.

Bart LeBon won the race for a Fairbanks seat in the Alaska House by one vote and was certified as the winner. At the end of a recount in Juneau on Friday, November 30, both the Dodge campaign and LeBon’s people had challenged the way some ballots were counted or set aside as invalid.

Dodge filed a challenge to the recount results last Wednesday, arguing two ballots that should have counted for her were left out, and two that counted for LeBon should not have been.

LeBon’s argument is similar but involves different ballots.

“Obviously you aren’t going to challenge the ballot that favors you,” LeBon laughed. “The ballots I’m challenging favored me, but were rejected by the Division of Elections for a variety of reasons.”

In the motion filed by attorney Stacey Stone of the Anchorage law firm Holmes, Weddle and Barcott, it mentions two ballots where ovals were marked for both candidates but had additional marks that led Elections officials to count them for Dodge. It also mentions two absentee ballots marked for LeBon that weren’t counted because of irregularities. And finally two more where the voters marked on the right side of the ballot, and not in the oval on the left.

LeBon said he had to file the legal motion or he might not be included in the court’s review.

“They would not know that I had issues about ballots that I challenged with the Division of Elections on November 30th during that recount,” LeBon said. “They would never know.”

The case is in front of the Alaska Supreme Court, which has appointed Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth as a Special Master to handle the case. He will review the ballot questions and issue a report by December 21. The Supreme Court’s order says parties have a week after that to file any objections to Aarseth’s report. Then, oral arguments are scheduled for Jan. 8, 2019. LeBon says that’s two very long months after the election.

“I’m on hold. The representative, be it me or Kathryn, are on hold,” LeBon said. “The sooner we can get this settled, we can make our plans to travel to Juneau, arrange housing and transportation, start to begin hiring staff.”

The state asked the Supreme Court to expedite the process. But was rejected.

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