Election officials estimate up to 50,000 ballots still to count
Election night has come and gone, but some of Alaska’s biggest races have yet to be decided.
In the governor’s race, Bill Walker leads Gov. Sean Parnell by only about 3,000 votes.
In the U.S. Senate race, the division is wider. Dan Sullivan has an 8,000-vote lead over Sen. Mark Begich. But Begich has yet to concede. The incumbent senator is hoping that thousands of absentee and questioned ballots will go his way.
Alaska Division of Elections director Gail Fenumiai says she isn’t sure exactly how many ballots have yet to be counted but says the number is high. She estimates there could be as many as 50,000 votes that still need to be tallied.
“We don’t know the total number of questioned ballots yet because those were just voted yesterday at the polling places, and our regional offices are getting those back today,” said Fenumiai. “And then some have to be mailed back from our outlying precincts that can’t be delivered to our offices on election night.”
Fenumiai says there are currently more than 23,000 early and absentee ballots waiting to be counted. In addition, she says, the DOE is waiting to receive back almost 14,000 absentee ballots that were requested by residents currently living out of state. A rough estimate for questioned ballots is 13,000. Then, there are also ballots from more than 200 polling places where people voted absentee in-person.
“There are still a high number of uncounted ballots, so until the last ballot is counted, we don’t say much of anything other than our results are unofficial,” Fenumiai said.
She says the count will begin Tuesday, Nov. 11, and continue through Nov. 19. The DOE hopes to have the election certified by Nov. 28.
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