1600. That’s the magic number. If Mark Begich can increase his lead from 1022 to 1600, it will put him over the recount threshold. If the margin of victory is under .5%, the state will pay for a recount if requested by either candidate, or a group of 10 citizens. If the margin is over .5%, then the candidate would have to pay for a recount himself. An automatic recount is generated only in the unlikely (but nothing would surprise me at this point) event of a tie.
Will Stevens ask for a recount if he comes up short? It’s anyone’s guess. If anyone would do it, it’s Ted. But he may decide to leave well enough alone, and spare himself from his almost certain expulsion from the US Senate. But Stevens is not one to back down. Ever.
Let me be the first to say that Alaskans are eagerly looking forward to this election being over. We were all prepared to wrap it up on November 4th, and are now faced with the election that wouldn’t die. But, there is a bright side to a potential recount. Recounts are done by hand count. It would be interesting to see how a good old-fashioned hand count fared in comparison to the suspect results that come from our particular brand of nefarious vote counting software. It might be the only vote of integrity Alaskans will have seen for several cycles.
And, if it flips the other way and Stevens regains his advantage, maybe Mark Begich will demand a recount.
The counting finishes tomorrow with approximately 24,000 ballots coming from Anchorage, Southeast Alaska, and the Kenai Penninsula remaining. When all is said and done it looks like Alaska’s percentage of voter turnout will be about 65%, which is less than the 66% voter turnout just four years ago, despite Palin and Obama on the ticket, and despite the addition of more than 20,000 new registered voters this year. There are many loose ends to be tied up before this is all over, and once the votes are counted.
And just in time for a little comic relief from the Stevens-Begich duel to the death, check out Juror #11’s Blog! That’s right. Blogging jurors. This is a hilarious recounting of the Ted Stevens trial from the perspective of Juror #11. Too bad she wasn’t allowed to blog during the trial! This is the juror who, although initially pegged as an alternate, got to step in when the infamous Juror #4 fled the scene after making up the story about her father dying, so she could go attend a horse race.
Here’s Juror #11’s summary of the trial’s opening statements: (‘Salmmy’ is Ted Stevens….we don’t know why yet, but have been promised an explanation in the future)
The prosectution: I am Rosie, and Salmmy is guilty of fraud! False Statements! Lying! Receiving Gifts! Furniture! Generator! Free Work done on his house! Statue! Puppy! Stained Glass Window! Mustang! – Wait?! Did she just say Mustang? What was that about a Mustang? Whose Mustang? Are you giving out Free Mustangs? Damn, now I really have to listen to find out more about that mustang! (yes, I love mustangs and am sure at one point I doodled ‘Mustang of love’ a dozen times in my notebook like a love sick teenager. I really hope they shredded those notebooks). Sadly, after the mustang bit my head was a little cloudy, but I think she said that they would prove their evidence in the next couple of weeks.
The defense: I am a whimisical old man! I don’t like microphones or standing in one spot! (I swear his nickname was going to be Orville Redenbocker if he had continued in this vein. I wanted to give him a straw hat, bow tie and a red stripped vest). Luckily he got to the point: Salmmy is innocent! He is old and confused! He hardley even goes to Alaska! His wife handled all the bills! His bestest friend didn’t tell him what was happening! Seriously? Oh, and Bill Allen is the Evil. He tricked Salmmy!
There are also before and after pictures of Ted’s chalet, and other amusing tidbits about the Alaskan trial of the century. I’ll be putting a link in the sidebar for this one.
And then tomorrow, back to the serious stuff.