Alaska elections overhaul moves another step closer to passing

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Ballot Measure 2 grew closer to passing on Friday, with 1,141 more yes votes than no votes after the day’s count. 

The measure would overhaul Alaska’s election laws, with a single primary open to all parties and ranked-choice voting. 

There were 10,990 ballots counted on Friday. The Division of Elections said there are 22,635 ballots left to count

More than 4,000 of the votes counted on Friday were in the Ketchikan-area House district, where independent Rep. Dan Ortiz has been re-elected, defeating Republican Leslie Becker. 

Homer Republican Rep. Sarah Vance also has been re-elected, defeating independent Kelly Cooper. 

Besides Ballot Measure 2, there are three other races that are still closely contested, all in the House. 

They are for the Anchorage district in the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson area, where Republican David Nelson leads Democrat Lyn Franks by 116 votes to replace Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux; an East Anchorage district, where Republican Rep. Lance Pruitt holds a 58-vote lead over Democrat Liz Snyder; and a district that includes the North Slope and Northwest Arctic Boroughs, where independent Josiah Patkotak leads Democrat Elizabeth Ferguson by 148 votes. There were no updates for any of these three races on Friday. 

Only one legislative district has changed parties, based on the candidates who are currently leading. In South Anchorage, independent Calvin Schrage, who was nominated by the Democrats, is leading over Republican Rep. Mel Gillis. 

Voters have retained all Alaska judges facing votes this year, including Supreme Court Justice Susan Carney. 

Today was the last day for ballots mailed by Election Day within the United States to arrive. Ballots mailed from overseas can arrive through Wednesday, which is the deadline to finish the count. 

All vote totals remain unofficial until they’re certified. The target date for that is Nov. 25. The Division of Elections Juneau office will count absentee ballots on Saturday. The Anchorage office will be preparing ballots on Saturday to count on Sunday. Nearly all of the ballots for Interior have been counted, and the Fairbanks office will do its final count on Wednesday. The Nome office will be reviewing absentee and questioned ballots on Saturday.