Alaska is...Interesting

With the Alaska Senate race still in full swing, a few pieces of information bear consideration. The Democratic challenger, Mark Begich of Anchorage currently holds a 1,022 vote lead over the convicted felon and Republican, Ted Stevens. The percent margin is exceptionally close, just .35%, a slim enough margin to qualify for a state funded recount under Alaska Statutes § 15.20.450:

If the recount includes an office for which candidates received a tie vote, or the difference between the number of votes cast was 20 or less or was less than .5 percent of the total number of votes cast for the two candidates for the contested office...the application need not include a deposit, and the state shall bear the cost of the recount.

The recount is not automatically triggered, as is the case in Minnesota, but rather must be requested under Alaska Statutes § 15.20.430:

A defeated candidate or 10 qualified voters who believe there has been a mistake made by an election official or by the counting board in counting the votes in an election, may file an application within five days after the completion of the state review to the director for a recount of the votes from any particular precinct or any house district and for any particular office, proposition, or question.

As the Alaska count currently stands, a state funded recount is a realistic outcome.

In preparation for the recounts, in both Minnesota and possibly Alaska, I sought to collect geographic information from each state that would allow for the creation of county and precinct level maps. Minnesota went off without a hitch (more on that later) but I ran into some issues with Alaska.

There appears to be an attempt by the Alaskan Government to provide the mapping data I sought, albeit a very sorry attempt. The page appears to provide a plethora of maps and resources, but any effort to actually obtain said files, results in a 505 error. I could always shell over the $150 required to purchase this data from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, but I don't have the urge. Why does Alaska need to charge for this government funded information, haven't the taxpayers already paid?

Apparently a viable link to an image of Russia remains of paramount importance, while essentially every other link, to the actual data, fails. Unbelievable.

Russia From an Alaskan's Perspective

Source: Alaska Department of Natural Resources

To be fair, this image exists in a specific surveying format; the equal area model. That said, there is absolutely no reason why the page could not have been more logically oriented. But ignoring this issue; why is a bizarre image of Russia available on a government sponsored server, while data directly pertaining to the state, and country for which that government seeks to represent, unavailable?

It all makes sense now.

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