Judge makes decision on whether to force Alaska to reprint 800K ballots

Judge makes decision on whether to force Alaska to reprint 800K ballots

Decision came today.

By MARK THIESSEN

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — A judge decided Friday not to force the state of Alaska to reprint 800,000 ballots after a candidate complained about how some candidates were listed.

Superior Court Judge Jennifer Henderson said Alyse Galvin, a nonpartisan candidate who won the Democratic primary in the U.S. House race, raised legitimate concerns but the harm to the state could be not fully mitigated or accounted for by approving Galvin’s request for a temporary injunction.

In preparing the ballots, election officials dropped the designator for undeclared or nonpartisan candidates if they ran and won the nomination in the Democratic primary. Instead, they are now listed on the ballots as “Democratic nominee.”

Galvin sued over the change, saying an “N” for non-partisan after her name on the ballot is a defining characteristic for her.

Henderson made her ruling after hearing oral arguments. The Alaska Supreme Court has indicated it was prepared to hear an appeal later in the day if one was filed.

A judge previously ordered the state to stop printing ballots Thursday, but the work had already been done. Lawyers for Galvin and the state were told to submit more briefings ahead of Friday’s hearing.

The state said it must mail overseas absentee ballots by 3 p.m. Friday to meet a federal deadline, though it could have applied for an extension.

The state has “created a tough situation for themselves by printing thousands of improperly altered ballots before posting the sample ballot for candidate and public review,” Galvin wrote in court documents. “But the hard work that it will take to correct the situation does not justify allowing this wrong to go uncorrected. Too much is at stake,”

The state counters that it’s not misleading to describe Galvin as the Democratic nominee. “Notably, the ballot does not identify her as a “Democrat,’” state attorneys wrote.

• This is an Associated Press report.

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