The Alaska Senate race 2010 will now be determined by write-in vote reviews. But in truth, the Alaska Senate race 2010 will likely be decided by the courts. Joe Miller has already challenged the legitimacy of Lisa Murkowski’s write-in votes in a lawsuit, just as the review has gotten under way. He is arguing that if many of the votes are misspelled, which they could easily have been, they should not count. Yet at this point, that defense may be his only hope to win the race now.
Today, more than 92,000 write-in ballots will begin to get counted by the state. There are more write-in votes than any state has had to count in decades, since they will actually determine who wins the election. If most of them hold for Murkowski, she will defeat Miller in their second election showdown, and maintain her seat.
But the Alaska Senate race likely won’t be decided in the initial review. Miller has already filed the first lawsuit of the election, as he wants the state to discount misspelled ballots. Officials have already stated that they will use discretion with misspelled votes, which could stop Miller from catching up.
With Miller down by 11,333 votes as of this morning, he needs at least one-ninth of the write-in ballots to be disqualified, or to not be for Murkowski. He is also hoping for a boost from absentee votes, although they only closed the gap by 2,000 yesterday.
The only hope for Miller to prevail is to question the legitimacy of the write-in votes. Therefore, the legal battle over the Senate race could drag on and on, unless the battle appears hopeless. If it isn’t, then it could take months for things to get decided in court, although the Republicans probably want to end faster.
No matter what, the Republicans will get a 47th Senate seat from this battle. But if it takes a long time for that winner to be certified, he or she can’t help them in Congress right away. Since Republicans are still a minority in this branch, they need everyone’s help to face the Democrats. Therefore, they would like to start the next session of Congress with 47 senators, instead of 46.
The Republican establishment likely always favored Murkowski, as they were stunned when she lost the primary to Miller. Therefore, they probably want the race to end with her back in office, although she might be more of a wild card now.
Nevertheless, the review is now truly under way today, with a decidedly uncertain end date at the moment.
USA TODAY- “Joe Miller camp files suit over Alaska write-in ballots”
Slate- “Merkowksi Still Counts in Alaska Race”
America’s News Online- “Election Results In Alaska Senate Race Could Be A Long Time Coming”