Senate Race in Alaska Speeds Up

By Nicole Allan

Holding up comprehensive election postmortems are just two lagging Senate races, in Washington and Alaska. While the Washington race between Democrat Patty Murray and Republican Dino Rossi, currently neck-and-neck, should be decided in the next few days, Alaska had the potential to drag on for weeks as the state waited to collect all of its absentee and provisional ballots. Throughout all of this, no one would even be able to say who was leading the race, since "write-in" has so far received the most votes--but we don't know what percentage of write-in votes are for incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

This will soon change. Alaska's Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell has told the state's Division of Elections to start sorting through write-in ballots to see which ones were cast for Murkowski. Election officials will now begin sorting through the write-ins on Tuesday, 10 days earlier than planned.

If the margin between Murkowski and Miller, who's received the second most ballots, is narrow, we may still have to wait until Nov. 18 to factor in absentee and provisional ballots. And then, of course, there's the possibility that Miller's team will sue the state over what counts as a vote for Murkowski. So we may still wait weeks for a decision from the last frontier. But at least we'll have trickles of information from elections officials to hold us over. 

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/11/senate-race-in-alaska-speeds-up/66092/