M-U-R-K-O-W-S-K-I v. The Letter of the Law – Joe Miller Sues!
One of the two Republican attorneys vying for the U.S. Senate seat in Alaska is suing. (Hint: It’s the one with the half-beard, not the one who failed the Bar exam four times)
Yes, Joe Miller filed a lawsuit today, just hours before the write-in ballots are due to be counted in Juneau. What he wants, he says, is for the state to follow “the letter of the law” when determining which write-in ballots should count, and which ones should be chucked.
Miller’s attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said the campaign is seeking a hearing on the matter as early as Wednesday afternoon.
Initial returns, including thousands of absentee ballots tallied Tuesday, showed write-ins maintaining a lead over Miller. However, it’s unclear how many of those write-in votes are for Murkowski or were properly cast for her.
Election law calls for write-in ballots to have the oval filled in and either the candidate’s last name or name as it appears on a declaration of candidacy written in. But election officials, pointing to prior case law, have said they plan to use discretion, in consultation with a state attorney, when it comes to misspellings or variations of Murkowski’s name.
Miller’s lawsuit calls this an “eleventh hour decision” and argues the state should be held to the letter of the law.
It appears as though Miller has narrowed the gap between him and Murkowski, picking up more than a thousand votes in absentee ballots counted so far. The thick plottens…
And so we duke it out to determine where the line is drawn between voter intent, and the letter of the law.
For those of you who are upset that the blockbuster political event of the season is not happening in Anchorage, be cheered. You can watch all the ballot counting live on your very own teevee!
KTOO’s statewide television public affairs channel, 360 North, plans to televise live coverage of the count of write-in ballots for the U.S. Senate race. The Division of Elections plans to start tabulating write-in votes from the November 4th general election on Wednesday (Nov. 10) in Juneau. 360 North plans to televise the entire count, which may last three or four days, with coverage starting at 9 a.m. and running all day through Friday or Saturday.
The write in-count is expected to draw a large number of observers, attorneys and media, watching the work of 15 teams of elections officials.
“Given the high interest in the outcome of the Senate election, we believe it important for all Alaskans to be able to observe the process,” said Bill Legere, KTOO’s general manager. “While we don’t expect much drama or excitement, every Alaskan will be able to watch through our cameras,” Legere said.
360 North is seen statewide on GCI Cable channel 15 (channel 18 in Juneau), and is broadcast over the air on KTOO-TV in Juneau (channel 3.2), KAKM-TV in Anchorage (channel 7.3) and KUAC-TV in Fairbanks (channel 9.4). 360 North is also available on Dish Network and DirecTV, and is streamed on the Internet at www.360north.org.
I had been planning on spending the day watching paint dry, but this promises to be equally as exciting! If any of you are truly this wonky, feel free to live blog the drying paint ballot count here, unless one of us feels compelled to report on the event as it happens, in which case you can join the new post.
Four solid days of heart-pounding, non-stop, ballot-counting action! ARE YOU READY?!?