Joe Miller is now trailing by just over 2000 votes. The counting is continuing. The Miller camp has disputed 7600 disputed votes. It is predicted that the counting will go on through the end of this week. However, Murkowski has officially pulled ahead this evening. The Miller camp contends that as long as there are disputed votes being counted they will continue to fight. There remain around 600 absentee ballots from overseas. These ballots are mostly from the military and Miller believes these votes will go in his favor. The voter rolls that Miller has asked for in his law suit will be provided but it will have to wait till after the counters finish their current job. Then they will be able to get to the work of providing what Miller has requested.
What a circus!! The mid-term elections here in Alaska have become a side show. There is no shortage of drama in this senate race. It has made national news. It has become one of the races to watch closely. There are many dips and turns to this story. Clearly, the American people are fed up with rampant federal government spending and the established career politicians. They demonstrated a desire for change in the presidential election of 2008 and there is still a desire for change. Many seats in the house and the senate held by one person for years have been turned over. Many Alaskans have wanted to “do away” with the long time republican senator Lisa Murkowski. In the primary race, Joe Miller wrested the Republican nomination from Lisa Murkowski.
Television commercials claimed that Lisa Murkowski counseled Joe Miller to walk away with dignity if he lost in the primary. Apparently, she would get the chance to practice what she preached. During the campaign for the primary, there were definitely more commercials on TV but the real onslaught didn’t happen until Lisa Murkowski lost the nomination. It was reported that she went to the Libertarians and asked to have their parties nomination. She was turned down. A few days later the news informed Alaskans that she would be a write-in candidate. That’s the point where the assault of political commercials began. And Lisa Murkowski did not keep her own counsel and “walk away with dignity”. Now we have the foundation for the unfolding political drama.
Both sides ran commercials but the winner for the most commercials would have to be Lisa Murkowski. It was organized and clearly showed her strategy. There were back to back commercials educating people on how to spell her last name. That was the first point in her campaign. People needed to know how to spell her name. In the beginning it was reported that if you wrote in her name and it was illegible or misspelled it would not count. Understandably, this was needed knowledge so every vote written in would count. Joe Miller continued his commercials stating that if the Americans wanted change in Washington that changing the people in Washington was needed. The next point in her commercials was to discredit Joe Miller. She brought out so called, “embarrassing headlines” attributed to Joe Miller. Joe Miller counter attacked with information about Lisa’s father giving her his seat in the senate. Her voting record was brought up and scrutinized and the little people were whispering that she was a democrat in republican clothes.
Finally, election day arrived. On many street corners people were being encouraged to get out and vote. We had our first snowfall in the city that stuck and accumulated. Would this keep people from voting? Nothing seems to stop Alaskans so I didn’t think the snow would deter people from getting out and voting. As the day wrapped up, the poles on the east coast were closing and winners being announced. Many republicans had won. By the end of election week there was still no declared winner in the senate race in Alaska. It was too close to call and the absentee ballots still had to be counted. However, the write-in votes for Lisa Murkowski were in the lead. The Lt. Governor, who presides over the elections had originally stated that write-in’s for Joe Miller would not count. By weeks end, there had been a complete reversal on this position. It was now declared that write-in votes for Joe Miller would count.
Where would this leave the senate race in Alaska?? Basically, it is in a holding position. There will be no winner declared until all the absentee votes can be counted and I suspect, recounted. Until that happens we must sit back and enjoy the absence of political commercials, the arrival of winter in Anchorage and wait and then probably wait some more. This drama is far from over.
This article is an update on the Miller versus Murkowski senate race.
More Trouble in the Miller/Murkowski Senate Race
Joe Miller is “cautiously optimistic” sources say. He is still trailing in the votes, however, they are still counting the absentee ballots. In the ballots counted yesterday Miller gained around 2100 votes. He has asked a state judge to throw out any ballots that misspell the write-in candidate’s name. State law does not provide for misspelled names contends Miller. The law states, “A vote for a write-in candidate, other than a write-in vote for governor and lieutenant governor, shall be counted if the oval is filled in for that candidate and if the name, as it appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy, of the candidate or the last name of the candidate is written in the space provided.” This seems to say that the name written in must match the name on the write-in declaration. This is what Joe Miller is arguing. However, the state has said it will consider voter intent when counting the ballots.
What is “voter intent”? It is a hazy area left open to interpretation. The question doesn’t have a concrete answer. The Lt. Governor, Craig Campbell, has said that as long as voter intent is clear the vote would be counted. He indicated that he will accept minor misspellings of Murkowski’s name. Campbell also says that the courts for the past 25 years have demonstrated that voter intent is important. The feeling on this issue is not wanting to “disenfranchise” any voter. This could be a sticky situation that could drag out for some time. The Miller camp is not happy with the Lt. Governor as he was appointed by Murkowski’s father and is saying Campbell is playing favorites. However, it wasn’t Murkowski’s father who appointed him to Lt. Governor. It was Sarah Palin who put Campbell in the position to become Lt. Governor with her resignation. There is no shortage of drama in this race.
As the voter count continues the state will have 15 teams of observers. Should a question arise as to the validity of a ballot or the counting process, these observers can bring the question up to the elections director. The director will be present for the counting process.
Which ever way this election goes one thing is certain, it will be contested. Both Miller and Murkowski have already hired attorney’s and are appealing for donations to help pay their legal expenses.
Kyle Hopkins and Sean Cockerham, Anchorage Daily News, Miller Files Suit Over Spelling