FILE - In this March 5, 2020 file photo, Alaska Republican House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt, left, speaks with Rep. George Rauscher on the floor of the House in Juneau, Alaska. Pruitt, of Anchorage, is challenging in court his 11-vote loss in a state House race to Democrat Liz Snyder. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

State house minority leader, others file election challenge in Alaska House race

The lawsuit raises concerns with the elimination of witness requirements for absentee ballots.

By BECKY BOHRER

Associated Press

Republican House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt is among those challenging in court his 11-vote loss in last month’s election, citing errors “sufficient to change the outcome of the election.”

The lawsuit raises concerns with the elimination of witness requirements for absentee ballots, which applied to absentee ballots cast statewide following an October ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court, not just this race.

The case also alleges the Division of Elections failed to provide proper notice of a polling location change.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Pruitt and several individuals, previously described as voters in his district, who sought a recount in his race. That recount, held Friday, showed Pruitt lost by 11 votes to Democrat Liz Snyder. Pruitt gained a vote and Snyder lost one during the recount.

[FBI questions state lawmakers about PFD]

Both Snyder and Stacey Stone, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the election challenge, described the recount process Friday as smooth, though Stone at that time flagged concern with the polling location change issue now cited in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit asks that properly cast votes “be properly tabulated” or that a new election be held. It was not immediately clear how the tabulation request would differ from the recount that was held.

A message seeking comment was left Thursday for Stone. Maria Bahr, a spokesperson for the state Department of Law, said the department is “reviewing the pleadings and will respond in a timely manner.”

The lawsuit names as defendants Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, who oversees elections, and Gail Fenumiai, the Division of Elections director.

Holly Wells, an attorney who represented Snyder during the recount, said Snyder would seek to intervene in the case.

The challenge comes with control of the state House undecided.

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Dec. 3

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
Teachers and school board members talk during the Juneau Board of Education and Juneau Education Association’s annual meet and greet in mid November. JEA contract negotiation team declared impasse last Friday and are in the process of filing for federal mediation.
Juneau teachers union declares impasse amid drawn-out negotiations

Still, the teachers union and district express optimism about working toward agreement.

This photo shows an Alaska State Trooper patrol vehicle (Juneau Empire File)
Troopers: Man killed raven, consumed its tongue

No arrests or citations made at this time, but investigation is underway.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Man sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to sex abuse of a minor

DNA and sex offender registration required as part of sentence.

t
Writers’ Weir: A window into the sea

A nonfiction story by Rodger Painter.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Thursday, Dec. 8

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Kéet and Oscar wait patiently to play on the beach in winter in Wrangell. (Vivian Faith Prescott / For the Capital City Weekly)
Planet Alaska: Winter words

Phrases and words to use to create a Lingít language immersion outing in the winter.

Most Read