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Down the ballot: The counting goes on

ALASKA: The Anchorage Daily News says that election workers today "will count 24,000 votes from Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula, Southwest and Southeast Alaska." Challenger Mark Begich (D) currently has a 1,022-vote lead over incumbent Sen. Ted Stevens (R).

Some more Q&As from the Anchorage Daily News. "What happens after today's count? Absentee ballots arrive from overseas through Wednesday. When will it be final? Week of Dec. 1. Then what? Recount if the voters or loser asks."

GEORGIA: Early voting began yesterday for the run-off between Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) and challenger Jim Martin (D), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says. The run-off "apparently was enough to bring early voters to the polls on Monday, the first day most metro Atlanta counties opened offices for early voting. Elections officials across the region reported steady voting and, in some places, lines."

Political headwinds certainly didn't help Chambliss hold off Martin in the Georgia Senate race, which will be decided in a Dec. 2 runoff. Roll Call: "But some state Republicans are also casting blame on what they describe as a poorly run campaign that had to be resuscitated in the final weeks before the November election by a National Republican Senatorial Committee that already had plenty of other contests to worry about. One Georgia Republican insider last week pointed the finger at Chambliss' longtime political strategist Tom Perdue for putting together a weak direct-mail program and 'substandard' and 'impersonal' television commercials during the crucial late summer and fall months." 

MINNESOTA: In a release yesterday, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced that his office "will post daily recount results beginning Wednesday, Nov. 19 after 8 p.m. The results will include the tally of uncontested votes for Coleman and Franken, a tally of the 'other' uncontested votes, and tallies of the ballots challenged by each candidate. The Web site will also post the percentage of precincts recounted and the percent of ballots recounted. The public is welcome to view the recount webpage at: www.sos.state.mn.us. The recount page will be updated everyday at 8 p.m… The numbers will remain unofficial until the results are certified by the State Canvassing Board which is scheduled to begin meeting on Dec. 16."

The AP writes, "Al Franken's Senate campaign, trailing slightly just before a statewide recount, argued Monday that a key Minnesota election board should examine rejected absentee ballots before certifying the race results. Those ballots are at the heart of legal and procedural disputes that have emerged as the near-deadlocked election moves into this week's manual recount of more than 2.9 million ballots. Republican Sen. Norm Coleman leads by 206 votes - a lead so slim that it triggered the automatic recount."