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.


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.

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