With thousands of votes still uncounted, Alaska’s initial results show many Republicans ahead

three people behind a table looking at papers
Election workers at the Mountain View Community Center in Anchorage just after 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

With many ballots still to be counted, early results in Alaska’s Election Day tally gave some indication where some races may be heading.

With nearly 70% of precincts reporting, the state’s Division of Elections updated results a little before 1 a.m. Wednesday, showing a total of about 157,0000 votes cast statewide. With increased absentee by mail votes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 120,000 early absentee votes remain to be counted in a week, starting on Nov. 10.

RELATED: Alaska counted less than half of all ballots on Election Night. Now the waiting starts.

Republicans currently lead at the top of the ballot, as Alaskans have so far favored President Donald Trump, incumbent U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and longtime Congressman Don Young, each with more than 60 percent of the vote in their respective races.

two people greet supporters
Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and his wife Julie Fate Sullivan greet supporters on Nov. 3, 2020, at the 49th State Brewing Co. in Anchorage. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

The early count shows voters rejecting both initiatives on the ballot.

Ballot Measure 1, aimed at changing state oil taxes, was failing with nearly 65% of votes cast against it. It would need “yes” votes on more than 65% of remaining ballots to overcome the gap.

And Ballot Measure 2, which would overhaul the state’s elections, was failing with “no” votes amounting to nearly 57%. When the remaining votes are counted, the measure would need to take more than 56% of them in order to pass. 

A person wearing a mask
Voter Pamela Williams at the Mountain View Community Center just before polls closed at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2020. “What’re you people doing? Next year is right around the corner. We gonna have us a cure? I dunno – that’s what their mouths say, but come on now. Come on, baby, let’s help the world. Stop killing us.” (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Some of the races that could determine who controls the Alaska House and Senate are also starting to come into focus. 

RELATED: With more than 100,000 ballots still to count, Alaska campaigns cross fingers and crunch numbers

The state House currently has 23 Republicans, and it takes 21 seats to control the chamber. The Senate has 13 Republicans; 11 seats are needed to control it.

RELATED: Some Alaska Republicans build large leads through Wednesday’s vote count, with counting to resume in a week

Several incumbent Democrats in the Alaska Legislature were behind Tuesday night.

  • Fairbanks’ District 5 state Rep. Adam Wool trailed Republican challenger Kevin McKinley slightly, 48% to 52%.
  • Anchorage Rep. Ivy Spohnholz was behind Republican challenger Paul Bauer 52-40%, with Libertarian Scott Kohlhaas taking nearly 9% of the votes.
  • Anchorage Rep. Chris Tuck is trailing Republican challenger Kathy Hensley who holds nearly 52% of the vote. Alaska Independence Party candidate Timothy Huitt has drawn just under 10% of the vote in that race.
  • Anchorage Sen. Bill Wielechowski was behind Republican challenger Madeleine Gaiser, who took a little more than 51%.

Initial results showed Supreme Court Justice Susan Carney overcoming a conservative coalition’s campaign against her, with 57% of voters favoring her retention.

These are preliminary results, and, as Alaska is the last state in the country to begin to count absentee ballots, the outcome of close races won’t be known for at least a week after Election Day.