ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Division of Elections certified the results of the statewide Nov. 6 election Monday, leaving the outcome of House District 1 to be determined by an automatic recount scheduled for Friday, by a court challenge, and if all else fails, by lot.
Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke said in a teleconference Monday afternoon that every ballot in House District 1 has been hand counted with the exception of one ballot that was found outside of the ballot box in a privacy sleeve inside an emergency bin.
That ballot is being investigated to determine whether or not it will be counted in Friday's recount, depending on what elections officials find according to Bahnke.
"The ballot was found by an election worker on the table in a gray secrecy sleeve," Bahnke said. "It was placed in the emergency bin along with other questioned ballots that were in their envelopes."
How it ended up in there and not in a ballot box remains a mystery.
"We feel that, somehow, a regular voter came in, perhaps saw them putting ballots in the secrecy sleeve," said Review Board member Stuart Sliter. "We don't know what happened."
Stilter said the ballot appears to be a marked for Democratic candidate Kathryn Dodge.
Republican Bart LeBon and Dodge are still tied with 2,661 votes each after a hand count.
"The ballot was included with questioned ballot materials, but there was no questioned ballot envelope to account for the ballot," Division of Elections spokesperson Samantha Miller said in a statement.
Additional absentee ballots received between now and the completion of Friday's recount will also be counted, as required by state law.
Whether or not Friday's recount upholds the tie, if either candidate is unsatisfied with the outcome, they will have five days to file an appeal with the Alaska Supreme Court. If the tie is not broken by the recount or by the court, state law dictates the winner will be determined by lot.
The last time that happened, in 2006, House Speaker Rep. Bryce Edgmon won his Democratic primary race by a coin flip.
The house seat could determine which way House leadership and organization leans in the upcoming legislature.
The recount is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday in Juneau.