An attempt to repeal Alaska's Oil and Gas Production Tax appears to have failed according to numbers released by the Division of Elections Wednesday afternoon. The latest figures show the 80,508 voters punched "NO" and 73,628 voted "YES" on Ballot Measure One.
The numbers are a victory for Governor Sean Parnell, who crafted the oil tax law known as SB21 in 2013.
"I don't consider a five percent win in the end close," Parnell said Wednesday. "We've got lots of elections, and that's deemed a landslide."
But critics of the existing law disagree. Independent Candidate for Governor Bill Walker says even though the initiative appears to have failed, the small margin of defeat is surprising considering how much money was spent by the oil companies to kill the initiative.
"The message I get from that is Alaska is looking for more balance, between the oil industry and our administration."
Late Wednesday afternoon, the Division of Elections reported it had received 12,253 absentee ballots. Director Gail Fenumiai says the ballots are expected to be counted by August 26th and the Election certified by September 2nd.