Ballots to be counted Tuesday for close race between Kelly, Kawasaki

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Although the election is over, the counting of ballots is not, and the carefully watched race for Senate Seat A is still too close to call. As people watch the results closely waiting for any update on who will win the race for Senate seat A, the Division of Elections is busy reviewing and counting ballots.

"Folks often think that as soon as the election is over, that everything is done, which is far from the case. This is actually standard operating procedure. We always have these 7, 10, 15 day counts, and it does take about three weeks to certify the election. Typically, the candidate who wins, wins by such a large margin that the number of outstanding ballots couldn't overcome that difference. So in people's minds, the election is done, but it actually isn't certified until about three weeks later," said Region III Election Supervisor Jeremy Johnson.

This race however only has an 11 vote difference, with Senator Pete Kelly currently holding a lead over Representative Scott Kawasaki. With the margin so close, Kawasaki is feeling positive about a possible win.

"With several hundred votes that are still out there yet to be counted, we like our chances, we're pretty optimistic about that coming in, so we're excited," Johnson said.

On Tuesday, the Division of Elections will be counting more than 200 early vote ballots and more than 300 questioned ballots from districts 1 and 2, which vote for this race. The final count of ballots will be right before Thanksgiving.

"The target date to certify the election will be that Friday right after Thanksgiving. After it's certified, then the results are finalized at that point, should there be a difference of twenty votes or less than it would be an automatic recount," he said.

Although the winner of some races from the general election have been known since election night, this race may take a while to know the final decision.

"I think both Senator Kelly and I are going to be on pins and needles for the next week," he said.

We reached out to Senator Pete Kelly. His wife Perri Kelly said on behalf of the Senator, he declines to comment at this time until they know more after Tuesday's count.