November 11, 2008

Will early voters decide important AK races?


Tomorrow is the day the state Division of Elections will count the majority of early and absentee votes. It's astonishing that so many Alaskans (more than 90,000) voted early or absentee this year. Homer shattered the record for early voting, as did most other communities statewide.  

The big question on most Alaskans' minds tomorrow will be whether or not Mark Begich ends up with a lead over Stevens when the counting is done. With a relatively slim lead of 3,353 votes, the Stevens camp is likely nervous right about now. Although it remains to be seen whether they will outperform the Republicans in turning out early voters, one thing is for sure - the state Democratic Party put on the full court press this year attempting to get their people to vote early. I am not, and have never been, a registered Democrat but I got at least a dozen snazzy, full-color (and expensive) mailers from the ADP throughout the campaign season, imploring me to vote early. We'll see if the effort payed off.  

One question floating around the newsroom today was this: is it even remotely possible for Ethan Berkowitz, who is down by a seemingly insurmountable 8-point margin to Don Young, to make up the difference with early/absentee votes?

Shannyn Moore has a good post on the subject here, describing the scene today of various campaign operatives fretting over the vote-counting. 

"It feels like 2000 Bush-Gore around here," she says.

More tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a link to the division's official count.