The Alaska Division of Elections certified the general election results on Nov. 30, which means the clock is now ticking for voters or candidates to request a recount. The deadline to ask for a recount is Dec. 5.

According to state law, any group of 10 registered Alaskan voters can request a recount of any precinct, house district or statewide contest – this includes both candidate races and ballot measures.

Recounts requests can also ask that the ballots be hand counted, rather than run through the state’s Dominion voting machines.

The state automatically recounts races in which there is a dead tie, which almost never happens. Otherwise candidates, parties or groups of at least 10 registered Alaska voters can request a recount of individual precincts, any house district, and any other race or ballot measure that was on the ballot.

If a particular contest is within a margin of 20 votes or 0.5%, the state will pay for the recount. Otherwise the requesting party must provide a deposit of $1,000 for each precinct, $2,000 for each house district and $15,000 for each statewide recount. These costs will be refunded, however, if the recount changes the election outcome or changes the percentage of votes in the requestor’s favor by 4% or more.

Recounts are typically conducted using the voter machines, with a hand count in only one randomly drawn precinct. However, a full hand recount can be requested.

When requesting a recount, the application must state “in substance the basis of the belief that a mistake has been made,” Alaska law states. Additionally, the recount application must be received (not merely postmarked) by the director of the Division of Elections no later than Dec. 5.

The state does not have an official application form for requesting recounts, but the application must be submitted in writing and contain the name and  mailing address of two persons who will represent the applicant and be present in Juneau for the recount.

According to the Division of Elections website, recounts must be held within five days of receipt of the application. All precinct ballots are recounted; followed by absentee, early and questioned ballots. A review of the rejected absentee and questioned ballots is also done. Recount results are certified by the State Review Board. There are provisions for an appeal to the court which must take place within five days after the recount is completed. Tie votes are determined by lot.


Click here for information on how to contact the Alaska Division of Elections.

Click here to see the official certified results of the general election.

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

Alaska election certified – residents have until Dec. 5 to request recounts

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.