The Alaska Division of Elections has completed their counting of about 14,000 additional ballots in this Friday afternoon tally, leaving about an additional 20,000 ballots to count.
Mark Begich has expanded both his numerical and his percentage lead over Sen. Ted Stevens. Begich now leads Stevens by 1,022 votes, up from the 814 vote lead he had on Wednesday. While on Wednesday Begich lead Stevens by .29% of the vote, his lead is now .35%.
It is unknown whether there will be further reporting this evening (as on Wednesday), or none until next week. It is also unknown at this time which state House districts have and have not been included in today's count. There had been a number of uncounted absentee and questioned ballots in Alaska House districts (including House Districts 2, 5, 36, 38, 39 and 40) in which Begich beat Stevens on election day by double digits.
Here are the current results as reported by the Alaska Division of Elections as of 3:56 p.m AKST:
|Number of Precincts||438|
|Precincts Reporting||438||100.0 %|
|Times Counted||297328/495731||60.0 %|
|Haase, Fredrick D.||LIB||2270||0.77%|
Sen. Stevens is running about 13 percentage points behind the McCain / Palin ticket, which carried Alaska with about 60% of the vote. Mayor Begich is outperforming Obama / Biden by just over 10 percentage points. The remaining three percent not voting for either Begich or Stevens seem to be going primarily to the Alaska Independence Party U.S. Senate candidate, who is gathering a bit over 4% of the vote in the Senate race. (The AIP candidates for President and Vice-President were receiving about .5% of the vote in that race.)
According to the Anchorage Daily News (ADN), 56% of ballots which had remained to be counted as of Friday, November 14 came from districts which Mark Begich carried on election day, some by a substantial margin. 59% of uncounted absentee ballots came from such Begich districts, while just a slight majority of questioned ballots (usually ballots cast in a precinct in which the voter was not registered) came from Begich-favoring districts. The balance of those ballots, including from the university district in Fairbanks, are slated to be counted early next week.
It should also be noted that Mayor Begich made a major push for his supporters to cast early and absentee ballots.
The Elections Division expected to use today to count all remaining ballots from Matanuska-Susitna Borough (a Republican-leaning area which includeds Sarah Palin's base of Wasilla), along with western and northern Alaska. Most Fairbanks ballots were to be counted today as well. If those included the university district, they could have offset the conservative area surrounding Wasilla.
The Alaska Elections Division is scheduled to count the remaining ballots from Anchorage (where Mark Begich serves as mayor) and the Southeast, which trends Democratic. However, the absentee ballots counted earlier were reportedly cast earlier, perhaps just as Sen. Stevens was being convicted of seven ethics-related felonies by a Washington, D.C. jury. Later ballots could reflect Stevens return to Alaska to rally his supporters, raise protestations of innocence, indications of appeal, all of which lead to some apparent shifting of public sentiment about the senator on his home turf.
** The Anchorage Daily News, an excellent source of news on the Alaska U.S. Senate election and all things Alaska, provides a breakdown of the ballots which remained to be counted as of Friday, November 14:
The Anchorage Daily News, an excellent source of news on the Alaska U.S. Senate election and all things Alaska, provides a breakdown of the ballots which remained to be counted as of Friday, November 14:
The Division of Elections will count the remaining ballots as follows:
• About 510 questioned ballots from Southeast, the Peninsula and Southwest Alaska
• About 5,180 absentee and questioned ballots from Mat-Su
• Questioned, absentee ballots from Richardson Highway and the Interior
• About 3,600 absentee and questioned ballots from Western and Northwest Alaska, and North Slope
• Leftover absentee ballots from Richardson Highway and the Interior
Tuesday• About 15,700 questioned and absentee ballots from Anchorage
• About 8,300 absentee ballots from Southeast, Kenai Peninsula and Southwest Alaska
This post will continue to be updated on receipt of new information on today's count.
Begich Expands Lead on Steven in Alaska Senate Race (November 12)
Alaska Election Results - President, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress (Interim, Preliminary), November 4 - 5, 2008
Graphic - file share on Flickr.