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Student Government: Valuable Experience or Sideshow? April 11, 2009

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Joe Blanchard prepares for an interview after winning a seat on the Fairbanks Borough Assembly.  Blanchard is a past president of the UAF student government, or ASUAF.

Joe Blanchard prepares for an interview after winning a seat on the Fairbanks Borough Assembly. Blanchard is a past president of the UAF student government, known as ASUAF.

Sorry for my absence over the course of the last month.  I’ve been sidelined for a variety of reasons, most of which have to do with reporting I’m doing on the student government at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  I’ve been doing a series of stories for the UAF paper – the Sun Star – on the efforts of some members of the student senate to remove the student president.  The experience got me thinking about student government and its relation to “actual” politics.  Is it a jumping-off point where future politicians can get their feet wet, or is it a backwater where political science majors with no hope of a career in real politics can stroke their egos and hold rein over their own little corner of the universe?

More after the jump.

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Ballot Counting Liveblog #3 November 12, 2008

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According to the Republicans’ spreadsheet, Scott Kawasaki has picked up 193 votes, pushing his margin over Sue Hull to around 250. Kawasaki now has a little breathing room, and it’s difficult to see his race changing direction.

Early votes pushed Karl Kassel to within 32 votes of Mike Kelly, which is where that race stands. It’s a razor-thin margin and we’ll see if it holds.

The last ballots are being tallied in District 12, after which the Fairbanks region’s tallies will be complete and the state election results will be updated at the Division of Elections website. After that it’s all waiting for Anchorage’s numbers.

Debate Notes: Kawasaki v. Hull October 20, 2008

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These are debate notes for the third debate last Thursday- Scott Kawasaki (D) vs. Sue Hull (R) for State House District 10.

I’m testing audio functionality.  Enjoy Scott Kawasaki’s introduction, in which he makes a self-deprecating comment about how long it took him to finish college.

Kawasaki’s introduction:

DEBATE NOTES: KAWASAKI V. HULL

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Election Part 2: Ballot Counting October 16, 2008

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I’m live at the state Division of Elections, where workers are counting the vast majority of the outstanding absentee, early, and questioned ballots.

So far, absentee ballots have been counted in Districts 7, 8, 9, and 10. No early or absentee ballots have yet been counted.

For the most part, absentees aren’t significantly changing the percentages we saw on election day.

Joe Paskvan holds a 133-vote advantage over Cynthia Henry for Senate Seat E.

Mike Kelly has a lead of 144 votes over Karl Kassel for House District 7.

David Guttenberg’s commanding lead over Will Finley in District 8 has grown by a few hundred votes. That race is definitively over.

Jay Ramras’ margin over John Brown in District 9 has grown by about 100 votes- it’s still too close to call, but it looks bad for Brown at this point.

In District 10, Scott Kawasaki’s razor-thin 67-vote margin has grown by 17 and now stands at 84 over challenger Sue Hull.

The more significant news is that in the absentees, Mark Begich appears to be gaining ground on Ted Stevens. In the absentees we’ve seen so far, Begich has gained about 440 votes on Stevens, cutting Stevens’ overall margin to under 3,000.

District 11 absentee and District 7 questioned ballots have just come in. I’ll cover them shortly.