August 30th, 2010
12:25 PM ET

Ballots uncounted in Alaska GOP Senate race

Unofficial primary results show Sen. Lisa Murkowski trailing.

One day before vote counting resumes in Alaska's Republican Senate primary, election officials say more than 25,000 ballots remain
uncounted.

According to unofficial results from last Tuesday's primary, Sen. Lisa Murkowski trails attorney Joe Miller by 1,668 votes, in what could turn out to be the biggest upset so far this cycle. Absentee ballots had 10 days domestically and 15 days internationally to arrive through the mail as long as they were postmarked August 24, the day of the primary.

Officials at the Alaska Division of Elections tell CNN that as of Sunday 15,720 absentee ballots have been returned. Absentee ballots continue to arrive by mail.

Also waiting to be counted are 663 early votes, ballots which were cast in pre-primary day voting. Add to that 9,117 "questioned" ballots, which may or may not be counted. Some may be disqualified by a panel of election officials for irregularities. Most of these votes are expected to be cast in the Republican primary, but some may be intended for the Democratic contest.

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. lance sjogren

    Initially upon reading this I thought, this could resurrect Murkowski. She was expected to do well on absentees because of their being likely to have been cast back when she led by a huge margin.

    However, if the number of absentee ballots has swelled in recent days, that presumably involves ballots that were cast the last few days prior to the election, in which case Miller might roughly break even on those particular recent ballots. Although, since Murkowski is stronger in rural areas and presmuably people in those areas are more prone to cast absentee ballots, she might still have the edge there.

    Bottom line, I think Miller is vulnerable. I would love to see Murkowski defeated, but I fear she may squeak through once the last ballots are tallied up.

    August 30, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ma baker

    Another issue is how many absentee ballots were sent out. 55% of 15,730 does not put Lisa over the top assuming all the absentees were cast for Repubs. Which cannot be the case.

    She got 49.1%. Very unlikely she can pull a rabbit out of the hat. You never know.

    Unlike Lance, I am an Alaskan and know that many rural areas voted against her or for a Democrat because of her pushing a special interest bill call S 881 this year which would have harmed eight towns. Two of those towns who had a tally at the town have already voted overwhelmingly for Joe. The others have to vote absentee and are in HD 5,

    August 30, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Roger DiPaolo

    >>Although, since Murkowski is stronger in rural areas..... <<

    No Lance, your assumption is wrong. You obviously know nothing about S.881which Murkowski sponsored, it's potential impact on rural Alaskans, or how Joe Miller in recent months has achieved "Super Hero" status in many rural Alaska areas. As a rural Alaskan, I know. If you aren't a rural Alaskan, you'd never understand.

    August 30, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fishkitty

    The rural areas in Southeast will undoubtably show stronger for Miller, due to Murkowski's special interest public land giveaway bill S.881 that has vulnerable communities up in arms.

    While apparently many people have found reason to vote for Miller rather than Murkowski, the fact remains that the slim margin she is losing by could very well be directly attributed to this very unpopular bill which would give 80,000 acres of the best remaining Tongass timberland to Sealaska Corporation to clearcut, along with public roads that access communities. A wide cross-section of the public – recreation, fishers and hunters, biologists, small business people, and more have loudly opposed this bill which is very bad envirionmentally and economically to this hard-hit area.

    We are still pleading with Congress to say NO to S.881 and save our communities here in SE Alaska. And we believe that the anger and betrayal we feel over Murkowski's insistence on ramming this land grab down our throat is the reason, much to her shock now, that she is LOSING this senate race.

    August 30, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |