Alaska in Brief

Alaska will recount seven-vote margin in state House race, plus a close Senate finish

By: - December 6, 2022 4:17 pm

Elections workers double-check the results of Alaska’s Aug. 16, 2022, primary election during a meeting of the state review board on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, at the Alaska Division of Elections in Juneau. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

The Alaska Division of Elections will recount two close finishes from the November general election beginning Wednesday in Juneau.

Denny Wells, the Democratic candidate for House District 15 in Anchorage, requested a recount of his seven-vote loss to Republican incumbent Rep. Tom McKay, and Roselynn Cacy, the Democratic candidate for Senate District E in South Anchorage, requested a recount of her ranked choice loss to Republicans Roger Holland and Cathy Giessel. 

The recount of the Cacy-Holland-Giessel race will take place Wednesday, and the Wells-McKay recount will take place Thursday.

Cacy finished 31 first-choice votes behind Holland and was the first candidate eliminated in the ranked choice election. After write-in voters’ ballots were redistributed, Cacy was 14 votes behind Holland.

State-paid recounts are available for candidates who finish within 0.5% of each other, and Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai has said that law also applies to the margins between second-place and third-place finishers in the state’s new ranked choice system.

Cacy said by email that she wanted to resolve any uncertainty. 

“Although I have congratulated Senator Giessel and do not want to do anything to stop the Senate from moving forward with its leadership and committee assignments, I have questions about the 14 vote difference between Senator Holland and myself,” Cacy said.

Wells, who has a straightforward head-to-head election, said in a prepared statement that given the close margin in his race, “even if our ballot counting process is 99.9% accurate, this vote count margin is still within the margin of error.”

In both cases, the recount procedure has election workers in Juneau feed in-person, absentee and early ballots through a scanner. One precinct will be randomly chosen for a hand count, absentee and questioned ballots will be reviewed, and then the state will retabulate the ranked choice result.


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James Brooks
James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected]