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The latest news from Alaska


Here's the latest news on the still-too-close-to-call Alaska GOP Senate primary between incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski and challenger Joe Miller. The bottom line is we should have a MUCH clearer picture about the outcome in the next 48 hours.

Here are the numbers:
Currently, Miller leads Murkowski by 1,668 votes, out of more than 92,000 cast.

There are 23,472 ballots still to be counted, and the majority of them (13,740) are absentees. Reportedly, about 16,000 absentee ballots were requested, so it's conceivable another 2,300 ballots could arrive, but it's probably much much lower. The state allows 15 days after the election for absentees to arrive, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

Another 9,069 are "questioned ballots" -- most often the issue is the voter cast the ballot in a precinct other than where they live. A high percentage of questioned ballots get thrown out generally.

There are also 663 "early" votes that need to be counted.

Tomorrow, a large chunk of the ballots will be counted. The Alaska Division of Elections will count all the early votes, all the absentee ballots received to date, and all the questioned ballots that have been resolved. Bottom line: A good 15,000 or more votes will be counted.

On Sept. 3, they will do another count of resolved "question" ballots, and late absentees.

On Sept. 8, they will have the final count of remaining ballots.

Statisticians say that Republicans made up about 75% of the voters last week, so if that percentage holds up, Murkowski would need the vote of roughly 55% to make up her deficit.