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Alaska court sets arguments in Anchorage House race dispute

December 16, 2020 GMT

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Supreme Court plans to hear arguments Jan. 8, less than two weeks before the start of the next legislative session, in a challenge to the election lost by House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt.

A group of individuals earlier this month appealed the outcome of a recount they’d requested that found Pruitt, a Republican, lost by 11 votes to Democrat Liz Snyder.

Pruitt and those same individuals also filed a lawsuit raising concerns with the elimination of witness requirements for absentee ballots and alleging the Division of Elections didn’t properly notice a polling location change. The complaint alleges “several” voters did not meet eligibility requirements to vote in the district.

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A Department of Law spokesperson has said the department will respond “in a timely manner.”

The waiver of witness requirements during the pandemic applied to absentee ballots cast statewide following an October ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court.

According to an order from the Supreme Court dated Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Josie Garton is to hold an evidentiary hearing and make findings on issues raised in the recount appeal. That report and an order in Pruitt’s related election challenge are due by Dec. 29.

Garton’s order in the election challenge also can be appealed.