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In Alaska we have 90,000 ballots waiting to be counted (PDF):

Absentee: 60,950
Early: 9,507
Question: 20,178

Total: 90,635

Today, the state will count 42,991 of the absentee ballots and 9.333 of the early votes. They'll be counting these districts (PDF). The rest will come later, maybe Friday. But election offices are still receiving absentee ballots by mail and questioned ballots, so the true number of outstanding ballots is still unknown.

As for the "rest", those are all Begich districts:

District  Begich  Stevens   Margin
2
         54.2    40.9     +13.3
5          55.7    38.0     +17.7
6          47.8    46.3      +1.5
36         53.2    41.7     +11.5
37         50.0    45.9      +4.1
38         65.3    30.6     +34.7
39         58.3    38.1     +20.2
40         58.8    37.7     +21.1

So what's important today isn't for Begich to take the lead, though that would be stellar, obviously. Rather, he needs to significantly close the gap from the current 3,257 deficit.

No word on whether today's count will be reported in one batch at the end of the day, or whether updated numbers will be released throughout the day.

And will there be a recount if things remain close?

If the candidates end up within either 20 votes or half a percentage point of each other, either candidate or a group of 10 registered voters can request a recount without paying the $15,000 fee, Fenumiai said.

An automatic recount only occurs in an exact tie.

And speaking of recounts, things are gearing up for the Minnesota Senate recount with both sides lawyering up.

Fritz Knaak, an attorney with Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign, said Tuesday that "perhaps 120 Coleman lawyers" may descend soon on each of the estimated 100 recount sites to be set up in each of the state's 87 counties and in large cities as the process gets underway next week.

Spokeswoman Jess McIntosh said that DFLer Al Franken's campaign is also busy assembling a team of supporters, volunteers and lawyers with plans to cover every recount site.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie will announce today which four judges will join him on the state Canvassing Board when it meets Tuesday to certify the official totals for the Senate race, a day before the recount is set to begin.

The unofficial lead held by Coleman over Franken remained at 206 on Tuesday, when government offices were closed for Veterans Day. It's not clear whether that margin includes votes from all the counties, which were supposed to certify their ballots by midnight Monday.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 09:55 AM PST.

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