by Max Brantley
You knew U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens was corrupt. You knew U.S. Rep. Don Young (pal of Huck and Dickey) was corrupt. Gov. Sarah Palin, between suspiciously fine house and her clothing haul, looks corrupt, too. Now comes this from fivethirtyeight.com on the election that everyone has been saying Stevens won:
Although Ted Stevens holds a small lead in Alaska and is the favorite to retain his seat, the outcome is not as inevitable as it might appear to be. Stevens currently holds a lead of 3,353 votes, or about 1.5 percent of the votes tallied so far. But, there are quite a large number of ballots yet to count. According to Roll Call, these include "at least 40,000 absentee ballot, 9,000 early voting ballots, and an undetermined number of questionable ballots".
Indeed, it seems possible that the number of "questionable" ballots could be quite high. So far, about 220 thousand votes have been processed in Alaska. This compares with 313 thousand votes cast in 2004. After adding back in the roughly 50,000 absentee and early ballots that Roll Call accounts for, that would get us to 270 thousand ballots, or about a 14 percent drop from 2004. It seems unlikely that turnout would drop by 14 percent in Alaska given the presence of both a high-profile senate race and Sarah Palin at the top of the ticket.
What the hell is wrong with Alaska (besides that it's a welfare state full of kooks)?