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Sec. 15.15.360. Rules for counting ballots.

(a) The election board shall count ballots according to the following rules:

(1) A voter may mark a ballot only by filling in, making "X" marks, diagonal, horizontal, or vertical marks, solid marks, stars, circles, asterisks, checks, or plus signs that are clearly spaced in the oval opposite the name of the candidate, proposition, or question that the voter desires to designate.

(2) A failure to properly mark a ballot as to one or more candidates does not itself invalidate the entire ballot.

(3) If a voter marks fewer names than there are persons to be elected to the office, a vote shall be counted for each candidate properly marked.

(4) If a voter marks more names than there are persons to be elected to the office, the votes for candidates for that office may not be counted.

(5) The mark specified in (1) of this subsection shall be counted only if it is substantially inside the oval provided, or touching the oval so as to indicate clearly that the voter intended the particular oval to be designated.

(6) Improper marks on the ballot may not be counted and do not invalidate marks for candidates properly made.

(7) An erasure or correction invalidates only that section of the ballot in which it appears.

(8) A vote marked for the candidate for President or Vice-President of the United States is considered and counted as a vote for the election of the presidential electors.

(9) [Repealed, Sec. 3 ch 10 SLA 2011].

(10) [Repealed, Sec. 3 ch 10 SLA 2011].

(11) [Repealed, Sec. 3 ch 10 SLA 2011].

(12) [Repealed, Sec. 3 ch 10 SLA 2011].

(b) The rules set out in this section are mandatory and there are no exceptions to them. A ballot may not be counted unless marked in compliance with these rules.

(c) [Repealed, Sec. 24 ch 113 SLA 2003].

(d) Write-in votes shall be counted according to the following rules:

(1) writing in the name of a candidate whose name is printed on the ballot does not invalidate a write-in vote unless the director determines, on the basis of other evidence, that the ballot was so marked for the purpose of identifying the ballot;

(2) in order to vote for a write-in candidate, the voter must write in the candidate's name in the space provided and fill in the oval opposite the candidate's name in accordance with (a)(1) of this section;

(3) a vote for a write-in candidate, other than a write-in vote for governor and lieutenant governor, shall be counted if the oval is filled in for that candidate and if the name of the candidate, as it appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy, or the last name of the candidate is written in the space provided;

(4) if the write-in vote is for governor and lieutenant governor, the vote shall be counted if the oval is filled in and the names of the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, as they appear on the write-in declaration of candidacy, or the last names of the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, or the name of the candidate for governor, as it appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy, or the last name of the candidate for governor is written in the space provided;

(5) in counting votes for a write-in candidate, the director shall disregard any abbreviation, misspelling, or other minor variation in the form of the name of a candidate if the intention of the voter can be ascertained.

Sec. 15.15.361. Stickers.

Affixing stickers on a ballot in an election to vote for a write-in candidate is prohibited.

Sec. 15.15.365. Counting of write-in votes in general election.

(a) Write-in votes on a general election ballot shall be counted for a candidate only if the aggregate of all votes cast for all write-in candidates for the particular office is

(1) the highest number of votes received by any candidate for the office; or

(2) the second highest number of votes received by any candidate and the difference between the total number of votes received by the candidate having the highest number of votes and the aggregate of all votes cast for all write-in candidates for the office is less than the percentage necessary for a recount at the state's cost under AS 15.20.450.

(b) Write-in votes that do not meet the requirements of this section may not be individually counted under this section.

(c) If the director determines that the requirements of (a) of this section have been met, the director shall establish the date for counting those write-in votes, and the director, or a designee of the director, shall count all write-in ballots under AS 15.15.360 (d).

(d) This section does not apply to the counting of federal write-in absentee ballots submitted under 42 U.S.C. 1973ff.

(e) Write-in ballots shall be counted by the director, or a designee of the director, in a public place at the location where write-in ballots are sent for counting following an election.

Sec. 15.15.370. Completion of ballot count; certificate.

When the count of ballots is completed, and in no event later than the day after the election, the election board shall make a certificate in duplicate of the results. The certificate includes the number of votes cast for each candidate, for and against each proposition, yes or no on each question, and any additional information prescribed by the director. The election board shall, immediately upon completion of the certificate or as soon thereafter as the local mail service permits, send in one sealed package to the director one copy of the certificate and the register. In addition, all ballots properly cast shall be mailed to the director in a separate, sealed package. Both packages, in addition to an address on the outside, shall clearly indicate the precinct from which they come. Each board shall, immediately upon completion of the certification and as soon thereafter as the local mail service permits, send the duplicate certificate to the respective election supervisor. The director may authorize election boards in precincts in those areas of the state where distance and weather make mail communication unreliable to forward their election results by telephone, telegram, or radio. The director may authorize the unofficial totaling of votes on a regional basis by election supervisors, tallying the votes as indicated on duplicate certificates. To assure adequate protection the director shall prescribe the manner in which the ballots, registers, and all other election records and materials are thereafter preserved, transferred, and destroyed.

Sec. 15.15.380. Payment of election board members.

The director shall pay each election board member for time spent at election duties, including the receiving of instructions. Election board chairpersons and the chairperson and members of the absentee ballot, questioned ballot, and state ballot counting review boards shall be paid for time spent at their election duties. The director shall set the compensation to be paid under this section by regulation.

Sec. 15.15.390. Election expenses.

The director shall prescribe the manner of certifying, auditing, and paying election expenses, including the cost of giving notice, renting polling places, paying election officials, securing a ballot box, postage, and stationery, and obtaining similar election necessities.

Sec. 15.15.400. Preparation of voter list.

The director shall prepare both a statewide list and a list by precinct of the names and addresses of all persons who voted in the election and their political party affiliation. Any person may obtain a copy of the list, or a part of the list, or a computer tape containing both residence and mailing addresses of voters, by applying to the director and paying to the state treasury a fee as determined by the director.

Sec. 15.15.410. Plural voting.

Upon a determination that a person has voted more than once in the same election, the director shall notify the attorney general.

Sec. 15.15.420. Duty to review the ballot counting.

The director shall review the counting of the ballots with the assistance of and in the presence of the appointed representatives from the political parties.

Sec. 15.15.430. Scope of the review of ballot counting.

(a) The review of ballot counting by the director shall include only

(1) a review of the precinct registers, tallies, and ballots cast;

(2) a review of absentee and questioned ballots as prescribed by law; and

(3) unless the ballot for the election district contains nothing but uncontested offices, a hand count of ballots from one randomly selected precinct in each election district that accounts for at least five percent of the ballots cast in that district.

(b) If, following the ballot review set out in (a) of this section, the director finds there is a discrepancy of more than one percent between the results of the hand count under (a)(3) of this section and the count certified by the election board, the director shall conduct a hand count of the ballots from that district.

(c) If the director finds an unexplained discrepancy in the ballot count in any precinct, the director may count the ballots from that precinct.

(d) The director shall certify in writing to the state ballot counting review board and publish on the division's Internet website any changes resulting from a count performed under (b) or (c) of this section.

Sec. 15.15.440. State ballot counting review.

The state ballot counting review shall begin as soon as practicable after the election is completed and no later than 16 days after an election and shall be continued until completed. The director may designate the hours each day during which the state ballot counting review board is to conduct its ballot counting review. The director shall close the review when the director is satisfied that no missing precinct certificate of election would, if received, change the result of the election. If no election certificate has been received from a precinct, the director may secure from the election supervisors and may count a certified copy of the duplicate election certificate of the precinct. If no election materials have been received, but election results have been received by telephone, telegram, or radio, the director shall count the election results so received. If the director has reason to believe that a missing precinct certificate, if received, would affect the result of the election, the director shall await the receipt of the certificate until the close of business on the 15th day after the date of election. A certificate not actually delivered to the director by the close of business on the 15th day after the election may not be counted at the state ballot counting review.

Sec. 15.15.450. Certification of state ballot counting review.

Upon completion of the state ballot counting review the director shall certify the person receiving the largest number of votes for the office for which that person was a candidate as elected to that office and shall certify the approval of a justice or judge not rejected by a majority of the voters voting on the question. The director shall issue to the elected candidates and approved justices and judges a certificate of their election or approval. The director shall also certify the results of a proposition and other question except that the lieutenant governor shall certify the results of an initiative, referendum, or constitutional amendment.

Sec. 15.15.460. Tie votes.

If two or more candidates tie in having the highest number of votes for the same office for which there is to be elected only one candidate, the director shall so notify the candidates who are tied. The director shall immediately proceed with the recount of votes in the manner provided by AS 15.20.430 - 15.20.530.

Sec. 15.15.470. Preservation of election ballots, papers, and materials.

The director shall preserve all precinct election certificates, tallies, and registers for four years after the election. All ballots and stubs for elections other than national elections may be destroyed 30 days after the certification of the state ballot counting review unless an application for recount has been filed and not completed, or unless their destruction is stayed by an order of the court. All ballots for national elections may be destroyed in accordance with federal law. The director may permit the inspection of election materials upon call by the Congress, the state legislature, or a court of competent jurisdiction.

Sec. 15.15.480. Security of ballots.

All official ballots in the possession of election officials, whether voted or not voted, shall be kept in a secure manner until destroyed in accordance with law. The director shall provide for the security of ballots during transportation and storage under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act).

Sec. 15.15.500. - 15.15.535. [Repealed, Sec. 1 ch 34 SLA 2001].

Repealed or Renumbered

Sec. 15.15.550. - 15.15.575. [Repealed, Sec. 1 ch 34 SLA 2001].

Repealed or Renumbered

Chapter 15.20. SPECIAL PROCEDURES FOR ELECTIONS

Article 01. ABSENTEE VOTING

Sec. 15.20.010. Persons who may vote absentee.

At any election a qualified voter may vote an absentee ballot for any reason.

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