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I thought <link rel=alternate> was pretty much reserved for 100% identical pages in different languages.
The keyword creates a hyperlink referencing an alternate representation of the current document.
I'm trying to remove all introductory and general text. That gets the word count down by 25%, and raises the unique content % by (something?).
I am also wondering about presenting the data in a mega page that would contain a table for all the states, with links for additional info to my state pages, which I would declare NOINDEX and perhaps use a <link rel="canonical" on them pointing to the mega page.