A week after Election Day, about 30 percent of the votes that will decide the fate of embattled U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens still haven't been counted.
The Alaska Division of Elections expects to count most of the roughly 90,000 early, absentee ballots or questioned ballots remaining today.
Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in U.S. Senate history, leads Democrat Mark Begich, the mayor of Anchorage, by 3,257 votes.
Why are there so many votes left uncounted so long after the election?
Elections director Gail Fenumiai says there's always a lag in counting absentee votes in Alaska, where far-flung communities and sometimes erratic mail delivery mean ballots can trickle in for days.
"It's not really taking any longer," Fenumiai said.
But the division is taking extra care with ballots this year after having discovered that more than two dozen people voted twice in the August primary. Most voted an absentee ballot, then showed up at their polling place and voted again.
So workers have been busy matching names on outstanding ballots to polling-place rolls from Election Day, when voters were required to show identification and sign in, Fenumiai said.
That work has been completed in 32 of Alaska's 40 election districts, including the state's population centers: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, the Kenai Peninsula and Gov. Sarah Palin's home territory, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, which includes Wasilla and Palmer.
Early this week, the elections office was waiting for precinct rolls to arrive from parts of rural Alaska, including the state's southeast panhandle, Kodiak Island and other communities off the highway system such as Western and Northern Alaska.
The most remote areas do not have daily mail service, which slows the process, Fenumiai said.
More than 224,000 votes were cast on Election Day.
Of the uncounted ballots, about 61,000 are absentee votes, with about 20,000 questioned ballots and 9,500 early votes.
She said another batch of votes could be counted Friday.
"I'm not promising that," she said.
Also officially undecided is the U.S. House race, though incumbent Republican Don Young holds a larger lead over Democrat Ethan Berkowitz -- nearly 17,000 votes.
Absentee votes continue to arrive in the mail.
Absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Election Day but could arrive up to 15 days after the election if sent from outside the country.
Questioned ballots are votes people cast on Election Day somewhere other than their designated polling place.