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September 3, 2014

Mr. Wrong is Right, and Other Strange Tales from the Alaska Senate Rabbit Hole

We should all be used to it by now. Alaska politics will turn into something far more complicated than we believed was possible. The Corrupt Bastards Club, the Ted Stevens trial, the Don Young Coconut Road fiasco, some half-term governor run amok in the Lower 48, and now this – the Alaska Senate race of 2010.

It’s always interesting when you find yourself with a strange bedfellow. That happened quite a bit when Palin had the VP nomination. People who were following the race from Alaska will remember that there were local Republicans a-plenty who wrote some really great scathing pieces about her. Several of them made me smile more than a little, and then suddenly shudder when I found myself thinking things like, “You go, Dan Fagan!” or “Sing it, Paul Jenkins!” Many readers may find themselves doing the same thing now when they read Peggy Noonan, or Karl Rove or George W. Bush who slam the ex-half governor, and future presidential candidate.

So, it is with a whiplash-addled heart that I commend…. (pauses for a shot of vodka)… that I say kudos to (mops brow)… that I agree with (deep breath)… Joe Miller.

It’s ironic that Alaska’s election system, which has more holes than a double-wide wheel of Swiss cheese, has now come under criticism by a Republican. Usually, it’s the Dems who get the short end of that particular stick and the Republicans obfuscate, roadblock, and chuckle to themselves.

If I hadn’t already woken up in bed with Dan Fagan, and Paul Jenkins on previous occasions, this might have been a bit more of a shock to the system. But, Alaskans are getting used to the perpetual fall down the political rabbit hole.

So, grab my hand as we free-fall, and I tell you as we rush down into the dark unknown that – this time Joe Miller has it right. And hold tight as we wizz past lamps and chairs and bookshelves, and I tell you that I agree with him, and with Thomas Van Flein, and with Floyd Brown. (You are staring at me in disbelief as we land with a great “OOOF” at the bottom of the rabbit hole, our fall broken by a giant pile of ballots)

Here’s a press release just released by the Miller campaign (my emphasis added):

Anchorage, Alaska. November 12, 2010 — Today, Joe Miller filed suit in state court in Juneau (see complaint here) in order to compel the State to fulfill its legal obligations under the Public Records Act and allow him to inspect the election registers from certain precincts that voters signed before casting their ballots. Joe Miller said, “The election registers are public records, and there is no excuse for the State attempting to keep them confidential and shield them from public scrutiny until after the vote count is over.” He added, “The public must be permitted to inspect the election registers in a timely manner, before a winner is declared in the U.S. Senate race, in order for the electoral process to remain open, transparent, and fair.”

The Miller campaign consistently has maintained that every valid, lawful vote should be counted. Allowing public inspection of the election registers provides a vital check that helps ensure that legitimate votes are not improperly diluted by illegally or fraudulently cast votes, and that the results of the election are not tainted by mistake or irregularity.

According to the campaign’s chief counsel, Thomas Van Flein, “The State has an absolute duty to disclose crucial public records such as these election registers in a ‘timely, reasonable, and responsive manner.’ During a contested election, timeliness becomes all the more crucial.” He noted that the lawsuit simply asks that attorneys and volunteers for the campaign be given access to inspect the election registers, rather than seeking to require the Division of Elections to make copies, so that Division personnel would not have to be diverted from counting the write-in vote ballots.

Said Van Flein, “I understand that the state said it is busy, but the needs of the public, and the interests of election transparency, require more effort than might otherwise be acceptable. It makes no sense to wait until after November 29 to give us access to records that could impact the validity of the certification process. Now is the time to deal with any potential irregularities, if any.”

Miller emphasized that the campaign was not seeking any private information about voters, or attempting to ascertain how anyone cast their ballot. “Inspecting the registers will allow us to simply count the number of signatures in each precinct, to ensure that no “extra” ballots materialized, and to compare the signatures from the polling places with those already on record, to ensure that the election was conducted in full compliance with state law. This is in essence a quality control check that should be routine for most elections.”

Campaign advisor Floyd Brown added, “We have a team in Juneau standing by to review these records. The matter is urgent. Timing is everything. We cannot be slow-rolled by the state on this. We were left with no choice but to ask a judge to order the state to get these records to the public so they can be reviewed.”

The campaign will likely be filing a motion for summary judgment early next week, along with a request for expedited consideration, asking the court to rule on its claim quickly. However, the campaign also hopes the State will simply allow the Miller team access and then this suit can be dismissed as moot.

Is Miller being paranoid?  Maybe, maybe not.  My guess is not.  Will he manage to pull out a victory? Maybe, maybe not.  My guess is not.

But here’s something interesting.  It’s a sworn statement from a ballot counter in Juneau. CLICK. Seems as if someone got their mitts on the ballots before the official count, and was kind enough to stack them in piles according to senate candidate.  If this sworn statement is true, then the law was broken, as was the chain of custody of the ballots.  Are any missing?  We don’t know, because the Division of Elections will not let the Miller campaign examine the public records showing how many people signed in to vote, and compare it to the number of ballots.

And here’s another interesting thing that has the Murkowski team, and people who haven’t really stopped to think about it in the context of Alaska’s election system yet, crying “Desperation!”  Floyd Brown has apparently asked for a handwriting analysis to be done on a string of ballots cast in Cordova that Miller observers say look similar.  Paranoid? Perhaps.  If someone added a few extra ballots in Cordova, we’d surely be able to tell by comparing the number of people who signed in to a precinct to vote, to the number of ballots that were actually sent in from that precinct. That’s easy.  Let’s just have a look.  Oh, wait… We can’t because the Division of Elections says we’re not allowed to review those public records.

This evening another press release comes from the Miller campaign:

Anchorage, Alaska. November 12, 2010 – Today Joe Miller responded to Lisa Murkowski’s attacks on voters. “I am disappointed Murkowksi endorses a complete disregard for state law. Murkowski mocks the very write-in process she invoked by now claiming it is not a spelling or penmanship test,” Miller said.

On September 15, 2010, Lt. Gov. Campbell issued a press statement confirming that the state statutory law would in fact be followed. This was in response to the Director of the Division of Elections statement that she intended to disregard the statute and instead apply her own interpretation to the ballots cast.

Prior to November 2, Murkowski sued the State to get her name printed on a voter list to be posted at every precinct. She did that and argued that, without such a list, a voter might misspell her name and the vote would not count. Murkowski knew what state law was prior to November 2, as did the Lt. Gov.

Now, after all the votes were cast, after a candidate list was posted by court order at the polls, after Murkowski spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising proper spelling, wrist bands, tattoos and pencils, now Murkowski claims that the law does not matter. For a person seeking to return to Congress to make laws, this is disturbing, inept and hypocritical.
Said Miller, “We are a nation of laws. Murkowski seems to think the laws are malleable, and she can pick and choose which ones she wants to follow and which ones she will violate. Murkowski continues to represent everything that is wrong with D.C. Her beltway attitude, that the laws only apply to the rest of us, is unfortunately too common in D.C.”
Finally, Miller noted that “I have stated all along. I want the law followed. If I win this, I want to win this fair and square. One would think Murkowski would have the same goal.”

One would think.  As a matter of fact, one would think that all candidates, and all voters would have the same goal regardless of what year it is, what office is being filled, and who has skin in the game.  So carry on, and since this election is going to be determined by courts one way or another, let’s enjoy doing a little quality control inspection on the sausage making machine.

And let’s please hurry up with the records request and a full audit of ballots compared to poll books, because someone is hogging the covers and I’m afraid to look and see who it is… (For God’s sake, don’t tell me!)

In the meantime, while we wait, and if you feel like you need further convincing about the sad state of affairs with Alaska elections, pop over to The Brad Blog and check it out HERE.

Comments

comments

Comments
99 Responses to “Mr. Wrong is Right, and Other Strange Tales from the Alaska Senate Rabbit Hole”
  1. tootles says:

    Are we suprised when a Native Corporation is the custodian of the ballots?

  2. I think Lisa will slip right back into her Washington habits and hangouts and ignore the Miller mess just as one might ignore the dog poo one trod in and scraped off on the kerb.

    I am sure she will hold a grudge on De Mint and if the opportunity arises to slide the knife in delicately (without getting her hands messy) she will avail herself of it. I can’t see him apologizing, ever, the voices in his head telling him he is like the Pope wouldn’t allow it.

    Does Joe have a future in Alaskan politics?

  3. Stickler says:

    I believe the Washington primary is the same as that of Louisiana. The first two across the line go to a runoff, unless one gets a majority in the first vote.

    In Washington, Patty Murray and Dino Rossi were the top two candidates, but Sarah endorsed Clint Didier, who was as qualified as she was, and he ran well to Rossi’s right.

    In the General he refused to endorse Rossi unless Dino promised to introduce a Constitutional Amendment to ban abortions for any reason, plus some other even more impractical campaign pledges. So if Rossi promised, he’d lose moderates, and if he didn’t, he’d lose the Palin/Didier nutcase fringe theocrats.

    He lost by about 1%. Palin’s primary endorsements of her fellow nutcases cost the GOP the control of the Senate.

    She endorsed Ken Buck over Jane Norton in Colorado. Norton could have beat Bennett easily. She lost a very close primary.

    She endorsed Carly Fiorina in California, over moderate former Congressman Tom Campbell. Fiorina won and Barbara Boxer whipped her by 5%. Campbell clearly would have won.

    She endorsed nutcase Christine O’Donnell over congressman Mike Castle, and she narrowly took the nomination. Castle could have whipped Chris Coons if he had taken a three month vacation in July and forgot to vote for himself. Castle’s seat turned over to the Democrats as a result.

    She supported Sharon Angle in Nevada, who beat Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian in the primary. Either, especially Lowden, could have easily whipped Harry Reid.

    The outcome in Alaska is odd. Lisa should win comfortably, despite Miller’s advocacy for a penmanship test, and hopefully she is alienated enough from leadership to start voting more like Snowe and Collins.

    She endorsed winners Ayotte in New Hampshire and Paul in Kentucky, but she could have endorsed their Democratic opponents instead of the two, and both would still have won.

    The only race where she might have had the effect she sought was in Pennsylvania, where Toomey narrowly edged Sestak.

    Oddly enough, this blog had it pretty close very early on the morning of November 3rd, where they guessed Sarah might have cost the Republicans four easy wins. http://www.rightpundits.com/?p=7605

    They were reluctant to commit on Rossi and Buck, but my numbers at that time (11:30 p.m., AK Time, 11/2) were very close to the eventual outcomes, and I predicted Ms. Murky would win as well. When I called it, Buck was leading by 9,000 votes.

    I think the number Sarah cost the GOP is five, unless Lisa stays registered as an Independent but doesn’t caucus with the “R’s” which seems extremely unlikely.

  4. Califpat says:

    Really!!!???

  5. Bill R. says:

    According to Huffington Post the lawyers are heading home and Miller’s camp are acknowledging defeat.

  6. I agree with the content of their first press release concerning the need for access to the records. However, the second one that talks about the correct spelling, etc., is just a political play. It was not until closer to the actual election that the Division of Elections made statements about the court cases which had made voter intent a standard for judging a ballot, so it is not inconsistent for Lisa Murkowski to do her utmost to prepare voters to spell her name properly and fill the ballot out as required by ‘law’. As has been pointed out elsewhere, it is also specified by law that the head of the Division of Elections is allowed to make determinations and that her determinations are valid.

    I hope the Democrats continue to be involved in observing and that they also take a look at the voter registration documents – wouldn’t it be funny if we found out there were undiscovered votes for McAdams. ha ha…. well maybe funny is not the word – at least not ha ha funny.

  7. bluebanshee says:

    For those who might be interested in Alaska’s recount laws here is the result from a searchable database of recount laws in the US:

    http://ceimn.org/ceimn-state-recount-laws-searchable-database/states/Alaska

    Alaska Recount Laws

    This information was initially released on October 21, 2010.
    Voting System Used:

    Mixed paper ballot and DREs with VVPAT

    For more details, visit Verified Voting.
    Counting Method:

    Required hand count of a sample of ballots in addition to other counting methods
    Mix of recount, retabulation and electronic review

    For those votes cast on direct-recording electronic machines, (DREs), the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) is to serve as the official ballot during a recount, and to be counted by hand. If the VVPAT is not “available” or “readable,” an electronic review is conducted instead. See the Alaska Administrative Code, Title 6, Part 1, Chapter 25, “Administration of Elections,” Article 1, “General Administration,” Rule 25.200, “Recounts”: legis.state.ak.us/basis/fol….

    Rule 25.200 also states that “A recount may be conducted using Accu-Vote counting systems along with a hand-count verification of the recount results from one precinct per house district,” meaning that a retabulation may take place only if a sample hand count also takes place. This rule, along with the statutory guidance provided in Section 15.20.480 and Section 15.15.360, suggests that most recounts are conducted by hand (in fact, the Director of Elections individually reviews all ballots).

    See the Alaska Statutes, Title 15, “Elections,” Section 15.20.480, “Procedure for Recount”: touchngo.com/lglcntr/akst… as well as Section 15.15.360, “Rules For Counting Ballots”: touchngo.com/lglcntr/akst….
    Initiating Mechanism:

    Close vote margin
    Candidate-initiated
    Voter-initiated
    Close Vote Margin:

    Tie vote only

    A tie vote is the only vote margin that automatically initiates a recount in Alaska. See the Alaska Statutes, Section 15.15.460, “Tie votes”: touchngo.com/lglcntr/akst….

    If after a recount and appeal the candidates have been determined to have the same number of votes for office, the winner will be selected by lot. See Section 15.20.530, “Determination Of Tie Votes”: touchngo.com/lglcntr/akst….

    Timing: In the case of a tie vote, the Director of Elections is required to “immediately proceed with the recount.” See Section 15.15.460.
    Candidate-Initiated Options:

    Candidate determines how many/which precincts to recount

    Any defeated candidate may request a recount. No restrictions are listed regarding the type of election in which a recount may be requested, or limiting the eligibility of certain offices for a recount. However, there are different filing deadlines for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor. See Section 15.20.430, “Authorization of Recount Application”: touchngo.com/lglcntr/akst….

    The application must state “the basis of the belief that a mistake has been made” and list the particular precincts, district and office for which the recount is to be held. See Section 15.20.440, “Form of Application”: touchngo.com/lglcntr/akst….

    Timing: Both candidate- and voter-initiated applications must be filed within five days after the completion of the state review. The Director of Elections must begin the recount within five days of receiving the application, and the recount must be completed within ten days. However, if the application is for the recount of votes cast for the office of governor and lieutenant governor following a general election, the application may only be filed within three days after the completion of the state review. The director of elections must begin the recount within three days of receiving the application, and the recount must be completed within ten days. See Section 15.20.430, “Authorization of Recount Application; 15.20.460, “Determination of Date of Recount” as well as Section 15.20.480, “Procedure for Recount.”
    Voter-Initiated Options:

    Voters determine how many/which precincts to recount
    Voters may request recounts for offices
    Voters may request recounts for initiatives/questions

    Voters requesting a recount may do so for propositions and questions as well as for offices, but a minimum of ten qualified voters is needed to make the request. No restrictions are listed regarding the type of election in which a recount may be requested, or limiting the eligibility of certain offices for a recount. See Section 15.20.440.

    Timing: The ten qualified voters must file their application within five days after the state review is completed. However, if the application is for the recount of votes cast for the office of governor and lieutenant governor following a general election, the application may only be filed within three days after the completion of the state review.
    If the application is approved the recount must begin within three days of its receipt, and the recount must be completed within ten days. See Sections 15.20.430, 15.20.440 and 15.20.460.

    The Director of Elections must begin the recount within five days of receiving the application, and complete the recount within ten days.
    Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts:

    Initiator pays set or per jurisdiction fee
    Initiator pays deposit or bond before recount
    Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

    The initiator must pay a deposit of $1,000 for each precinct, $2,000 for each house district, or $15,000 for the entire state. The cost is paid entirely by the initiator, unless the vote total changes by four percent or more in favor of the initiator, or if the recount changes the outcome of the election, in which case the deposit will be refunded.

    For both candidates and propositions, a deposit is not required if there is a tie vote or if the difference between the vote totals for each candidate or side is less than 20 total votes or less than .5% of the total votes cast.

    See Section 15.20.450, “Requirement Of Deposit”: touchngo.com/lglcntr/akst….
    Cost for Voter-Initiated Recounts:

    Initiator pays set or per jurisdiction fee
    Initiator pays deposit or bond before recount
    Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

    The initiator must pay a deposit of $1,000 for each precinct, $2,000 for each house district, or $15,000 for the entire state. The cost is paid entirely by the initiator, unless the vote total changes by four percent or more in favor of the initiator, or if the recount changes the outcome of the election, in which case the deposit will be refunded.

    For both candidates and propositions, a deposit is not required if there is a tie vote or if the difference between the vote totals for each candidate or side is less than 20 total votes or less than .5% of the total votes cast.

    See Section 15.20.450, “Requirement Of Deposit”: touchngo.com/lglcntr/akst….
    Challengers and Observers:

    Party/candidate or initiator has statutory authority to appoint observers
    No statutory guidance provided for recount challengers

    While Section 15.20.470, “Requirement of notice,” mandates notification of candidates, initiators, their representatives, and “other directly interested parties,” it does not mandate notifying the public. Nor did we find any statute requiring that the recount be conducted publicly. If you know of relevant laws or rules for this state regarding any of these issues, please email info@ceimn.org.

    Section 15.20.440 allows recount initiators two representatives – one of whom may be the initiator – to “be present and assist during the recount.” Subsection (b) also allows for observers for “candidates, political parties, or organized groups having a direct interest in a recount” There is no mention made of these observers having the ability to challenge ballots.
    Rules for Determining Voter Intent:

    Statutory guidance provided

    Alaska statute provides a detailed set of rules for interpreting voter intent. See Section 15.15.360.
    Audit Laws:

    State has audit laws

    See: http://www.ceimn.org/state-audit-legislation-reference-guide/alaska.
    Additional Resources:
    Alaska Statutes – Title 15 – Elections
    Alaska Division of Elections
    Alaska Audit Info from CEI

  8. Ang says:

    “If I hadn’t already woken up in bed with Dan Fagan”

    AKM how about a little warning here. I just about spit my yogurt out all over my laptop. Like when you say Make some popcorn! How about “Have no food/drink in hand/mouth”

    • Bretta says:

      LOL – as horrified as I was imagining the scenario – well, Dan Fagan could only wish…
      …the little Limpaugh wanna-be MiniMe.
      Gag.

  9. frsbdg says:

    Word is that George Costanza will now be advising the Miller campaign:

  10. funnyhaha says:

    I think Mudflats just fell into Joe Miller’s rabbit hole.

    You are assuming that the affidavit is true even though there is no one corroborating evidence for this man’s statement. You are trusting Miller and Floyd Brown to be the holders of election ethics in this mess? Seriously?!

    I have no problem with Miller asking to match the number of signatures at polling places with the number of ballots cast. Here is the thing; Miller then asks for a handwriting analyst?

    Miller doesn’t care about the number of ballots. He wants to match the writing on sign-in sheets to the handwriting of those who voted for a write-in candidate.

    This is the guy who challenged a vote because the voter used a cursive letter “L”.

    Pull out of the rabbit hole while you still can.

    I’m not assuming anything is true. I think everything should be investigated thoroughly and completely and let the chips fall where they may. The truth always has a way of trying to get out if we let it. And I absolutely believe in voter intent, but think that we need to button up those boundaries before we’re counting ballots. AKM

  11. Don says:

    If they’d had the smarts to vote for the only honest person in the race this would be over.

  12. Don says:

    what a mess.

  13. Normally WC and AKMuckraker are in pretty close agreement on issues involving Joe Miller. But WC disagrees here. There’s a fair amount of personal information on those voter registers that WC would just as soon Joe Miller didn’t get in his hypocritical hands. Including the fact that WC voted. WC wouldn’t object to an independent authority looking through them, perhaps Judge Burbank. But not Miller’s sleazy gang.

    • fishingmamma says:

      I’m with you, WC.

    • Laurie says:

      While volunteering for a few campaigns during this election I learned that there is a database keep (I’m sure by both parties) about who has voted and which and whether they voted in the primaries. When I got tired of making phone calls, I did data entry. Lists were sent by each precinct with the names of voters who voted that day. When I first learned how much was known about me and my voting record I felt that it infringed on my privacy. To be clear, it was not who someone voted for only whether they voted and which primary they voted in. I guess that is why the repubs don’t call me!

    • akgrrl says:

      Voting records are public. Anyone can have access to them. Your name, mailing address, resident address, voter ID, date of registration, party affiliation (or lack thereof), whether or not you voted in any election since you registered, and if you voted absentee or if it was a questioned ballot.

      • AKMuckraker says:

        The campaign, from what I understand, wanted to view the poll books on premesis for the purposes of counting signatures, not take any information from them. And yes, those records are public.

    • jojobo1 says:

      You know I was wondering about that I know ours has our address ect.After hearing about Millers intimidation tactics I would not want either him nor the palins to know anything about me.Ya just don’t know what they might do?????

    • Bretta says:

      I agree, WC – I facetiously said (a day or two ago, on ADN) that the Joe MilLiar gang would use the info to handcuff us who didn’t vote for him, and otherwise abuse the privilege of looking at the voter registrations, especially misuse it in racist ways. A grain of truth in my *snark* comment.

      I do not want the Joe MilLiar to have the data without close adult supervision.

  14. SBorbridge says:

    I don’t like either of the two Republicans and didn’t vote for either of them. I do have to agree on the questions raised regarding the process. It is bigger than whether Joe wins or Lisa wins. Unless a process is followed to the letter of the law, it leaves an even greater trust gap than we’ve had since the Bush v. Gore election. And we wonder why people don’t vote. This process has become way to subjective, so it may take court cases to clarify state law — or new legislation.

  15. SBorbridge says:

    I don’t like either of the two Republicans and didn’t vote for either of them. I do have to agree on the questions raised regarding the process. It is bigger than whether Joe wins or Lisa wins. Unless a process is followed to the letter of the law, it leaves an even greater trust gap than we’ve had since the Bush v. Gore election. And we wonder why people don’t vote. This process has become way to subjective, so it make take court cases to clarify state law — or new legislation.

  16. sallyngarland,tx says:

    Saw over at See4p that one of their commenters is counting votes. Got a “yucky” feeling about that.

  17. johnny says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/13/AR2010111301872_2.html

    “About halfway up the rock, I did not know if I was going to be able to finish the task,” she tells the camera. “But I didn’t want to quit. I didn’t want to quit in front of other people.”

    ————————————-

    • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

      I quit reading halfway through your post so I’m not sure what the outcome was.

      I quit before I even started watching any trailer, reading any news or quotes from the Twit Show. It doesn’t exist unless we give it life.

      • johnny says:

        I know, I shouldn’t have posted that, and I won’t be watching the show or reading any of the books, just that the last 2 sentences just jumped off the page. The sad thing is that so many of her rabid fans will buy it. That she would never quit.

        • AKPetMom says:

          It has life and lots of people that are not lucky enough to live in Alaska are going to watch it and form opinions about our state via this reality show. However, people watch Ice Road Truckers and the Geo Beach show on Alaska and many of the other reality shows that have featured our State as the star.

          Our State has been well represented in “reality TV” format and not so well represented. This show is no different, except that it features a very dysfunctional family using our State as a backdrop for creating legitimacy in their own lives. They happen to live here and people find that fascinating. However, we shall see how many people buy into the picture of domestic tranquility and functional upstanding family that the Palins are attempting to create.

          I can almost guarantee that it will only be the rabid lower 48 fanbase that believes one single solitary moment of it. Alaskans know the truth about the Palins so they can’t recreate reality for us.

          • That is a shameful, shameful and horrid disgusting thing! People thought that church-going family people wouldn’t be part of such things….thank god, somebody had the foresight to save the awful proof: withoutsanctuary.com -but, please be warned- these photos are the worst of our natures..and hard to look at. Just imagine being a person of color living with these people,
            trying to raise your family…I’ve also learned about ‘redlining’ -that is a procedure where banks do not loan money to an area- usually black people and poor white people- it’s a way to enforce poverty…! Imagine the strength of character it took to live and work in those places! It wouldn’t surprise me if Bank of America was one of the banks…I’m 62, and I’m learning things that I truly never knew—I also know this: I truly care about each person and we–all of us together – can make a difference, in whatever way we can… Thank you for the good things you do –knowledge is power!

        • nswfm says:

          Don’t get too depressed–it is only the rabid fans, but there are PLENTY of others who see through this staged garbage

          http://lynnrockets.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/ready-for-sarah-palins-staged-alaska/
          “The Boston Globe tells us what we can expect to see. Here are some excerpts from the newspaper’s review:

          Sarah Palin is climbing a glorious mountain in the premiere of TLC’s “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.’’ Terrified of heights, “freaking-out scared,’’ she yells to her guide and her husband, Todd, “This may flippin’ take me all day.’’ But she persists, bravely climbing upward, refusing to succumb to fear. “I didn’t want to quit,’’ she says later. “I didn’t want to quit in front of other people.’’ The long scene is about perseverance, a statement about climbing ev’ry mountain. But is the scene also an indirect response to accusations that Palin is a “quitter’’ for having left her Alaska governor’s post 18 months early?”

          We’ll always have Paris, I mean quitting in gibberish on Lake Lucile.

  18. AKPetMom says:

    It almost makes one not want to vote again until this is fixed. While it is our right to express our right to elect officials via our polling places, it is also our right to abstain from a broken process. This latest round of complaints is making me reconsider taking time out of my day to make my voice heard in our next election.

  19. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    In my view, Mr. Wrong just gets wronger. He’s not fighting this fight except to put himself in power, so I will never be aligned with him through any stretch of the imagination. He couldn’t care less about voters, or fairness, or better elections. Probably candidates should just keep suing since every election even though it sounds like a colossal waste of time – but if it happened every time, then the DOE might get their act together. I don’t like the way they loosely interpreted the statutes, typical of this administration. That’s part of what being a young state is all about, and it’s very sad that without lawsuits the voters have little say over their elections.

    Mr. Wrong is very very wrong. He lives and breathes to feed his ego and Dominionist mind set. I just returned from a trip where I talked with an old family friend who lived in the Interior providing health care in a village and surrounding area. Her little evil nugget about Joe that as a magistrate, he asked the courts to keep track of young women who abused alcohol (women only, mind you). He wanted to cross reference that info with whether these particular women every got pregnant, and then to lock them up in custody to have their babies under the watchful eye of local government. Anti government? I don’t think so. He will use whatever system he can to control others. Any system, anywhere, anytime. Don’t let this man go anywhere, or give him one iota of anything but refudiation.

  20. Mud Moderator: Will you fix my typo? Dang Blackberry kys sure r tiny! Thx.

  21. Great stuff Mr or Ms Flats. May I call you Mud?
    An overhaul is overdue for our three-card-monte game to which we laughingly refer as “democracy.”
    This battle of elephants you’re experiencing may have a good upshot.
    Our beloved Arizona legislature is an asylum run by the inmates. They perform Marat/Sade every day they’re in session.
    In 2005, they overwhelmingly passed a law allowing us to Hand Count Audit a miniscule percentage of paper ballots (2% of polling place ballots – 1% of vote-by-mail).
    The only reason they did this was that Republicans rip each other off in. Primaries, which with gerrymandered districts, is the only competitive race.
    Good luck! Dump Don!
    @RandallfrmTempe (formerly Spenard, Wasilla, Valdez, etc.)
    P.S. Is ‘Koots still there?

  22. Doodlebug says:

    If I were Lisa, I would want more information from the primary election. After all, a person that a lot of people had never even heard of beat a sitting senator. That has always seemed a little pecuilar to me. I simply don’t think SP is that powerful.

    • johnny says:

      Yes, if Joe succeeds in the investigation of village votes, then investigation of the whole primary should be thrown open too. BTW, has he paid any fine for not filing the financial disclosures for something like 3-4 months beyond the deadline? Good old Joe, such a stickler for the law.

    • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

      It had zero to do with Twitty Quitty, and everything to do with people a) sending Lisa a message, and b) what people ended up calling the strategic vote to put up a whack job against the Democrat in hopes he would win. Don’t give Twitty credit for something she didn’t do (which is pretty much the story of her life).

      • nswfm says:

        I’m very sorry this election worked out this way, but could see it coming for quite a while.

        I heard this on the radio and could only think of the former half-governor/her dud/family:

        http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/419/petty-tyrant

        “In Schenectady, NY, a school maintenance man named Steve Raucci works his way up the ranks for 30 years, until finally he’s in charge of the maintenance department. That’s when he starts messing with his employees. Teasing them at meetings. Punishing them with crummy work assignments. Or worse things, like secretly slashing their tires in the middle of the night.”

        • I heard part of that the other night and meant to look it up. Thanks for the link. (Probably wouldn’t have found it because that’s not how I would have spelled his name, either.) Very creepy when people like that end up in a position of control and people are too afraid to speak up. I’m afraid that is where we are headed with some of those who have recently been elected. They expect everyone to do just what they want without any question or challenge to their authority – hence, ugly scenes like Miller’s henchmen “arresting” the reporter and the reporter that was threatened with arrest because he kept trying to get an answer from the Supreme Court justice.

  23. London Bridges says:

    If they look at the books they should look at all the registers and all the precincts with teams from all 3 candidates participating.

    • johnny says:

      I think a recount or no recount should be declared, not that bit by bit Miller can obfuscate and delay and try throw a cloud over it all. In the meantime, though, the Alaska Bar should be investigating him for the lies he told, the tampering with other lawyers’ government computers; the way he doesn’t seem to have been an alaska resident for the 12 months preceding his acquisition of an indigent hunting license; his family having been on medicaid while they accumulated properties in the state, the mysterious status of the willow property that doesn’t seem to show up on the appropriate disclosures, his hiring of his wife in contradiction of federal statutes and her having received pay for that position although a person hired for a job illegally is not supposed to be paid for it.

      THEN, we can jump on his bandwagon to see if there are 3 elders in a village who have similar signatures. “eye roll”.

      • Gimme-a-break, Sarah says:

        I agree completely. Why is it that a guy who broke so many of the rules was allowed to even BE on the ballot? I would have thought that when he didn’t file his financial statement on time they would have thrown out his filing papers.

  24. Moose Pucky says:

    If Alaska Statute 6 AAC 25.070(b) clearly “prohibited the Division from providing information about write-in candidates–including their names, party affiliations, and certification status–for distribution at polling places,” as ruled by Super Court Judge Frank Pfiffner, was disregarded by Alaska’s Supreme Court, and an alternate ruling put in place that allowed polling places complete discretion in how to “assist” voters with filling out their ballots days before the election–

    then are we Alaskans to be surprised at any decision or action taken in favor of the write-in that follows by Alaska’s Department of Elections, given that kind of leeway by Alaska’s Supreme Court prior to and during the actual polling?

    It is the actions taken by the Div. of Elections, the Alaska Supreme Court, the news media, corporate donors, and poll workers prior to and during the elections that really made the Senate election in Alaska this year subject to serious ethical and legal question.

    Lisa may win this election–but how it was done is going to follow her into the Senate. She showed it pays to be cozy with established and corporate interests. Alaskans, however, have no champion for issues relevant to all Alaskans or for any kind of governing outside of partisan bickering.

    Nothing to celebrate here. Alaskans have been left with little to trust in their own state government or election process.

  25. n djinn says:

    NYT reports lawyers from DC on both “sides” are bailing out of Alaska as they think the election is over, dun, fin-e-to. Big L won they thinks and they no care about all this minor stuff like [possible] ballot tampering.

  26. Valley_Independent says:

    I’m not so fussy about people’s spelling or penmanship, as long as intent is clear, but I agree with the Miller camp that they should be able to review the voter registers and count the signatures. As was pointed out earlier, Alaska Democrats have previously raised challenges when it appeared more votes were counted in a precinct than there were registered voters there, and gotten nowhere.

    There can be no harm done in making the list available and making sure the number of votes doesn’t exceed the number of signatures, but refusing to do so certainly harms the credibility of the process.

  27. gm says:

    Miller, Van Flein, and Brown’s reasonable request for records is embedded in a heap of deroggatory verbage, including smearing Murkowski (especially Miller’s Nov. 12 press release). Oh sure, Miller’s concern is for the voters of Alaska. Our voting machines and election process are flawed, but Miller and camp are just following the mean-girl ,victim, mischaracterization routine of Miller’s mentor.

  28. Davester says:

    Something seems to be missing from this article. Did the state elections people give a reason for not allowing immediate access? Might it be that they are using them on a daily basis during this vote authentication and counting period. I’ll bet there is a reasonable explanation somewhere.

    • AKMuckraker says:

      My understanding is that they said they “did not have time” to go over the records. In response, Miller’s campaign stated that all they needed to do was see the books, with no additional assistance from the state required. That’s where we stand now.

      • Davester says:

        You miss my point. Are they currently utilizing the records and need quick access to them. If the Miller group were looking at them and elections needed a printout, the Miller people would likely cry foul and claim they took a record back to change it. Why cannot Miller simply wait a few more days like a reasonable person would do. I still think there is more to this story.

    • gm says:

      Said they were busy. You’d think they have good reason for delaying access to the voter registers, but remember that our state took over a year to figure out how to respond to FOIA requests for simple emails from and to the governor. And this same administration changed election procedures a week before the election–sending out write-in candidate lists to the polls, which had NEVER been done before). Sadly, I’m not at all confident that transparency is this administration’s goal.

  29. Fairbanks_Rick says:

    There certainly were some problems at DOE in handling this election; there always are, and should be addressed. Alaska needs to clear up the standards for counting write-ins, but the reality is that it is not likely to matter at all in any of our lifetimes. But when all’s said and done, the numbers don’t add up for Miller, and are not even close. Joe is going to finish up with fewer votes that the unchallenged Murkowski votes. I’m certainly no fan of Lisa, but I’m not unhappy to see Miller, and by extension the TP and SP, go down in ignominious defeat.

  30. Weedpuller says:

    I agree the voter registers should be available for inspection. But I see a nightmare coming with the desire to compare signatures on the voting registers with ones already on file. One’s signature can vary depending on the circumstances – such as bending down over a low table as opposed to seated comfortably. After all the perfectly spelled, clearly legible ballots that were challenged, the Miller campaign could try to challenge every voter sign-in signature. Hopefully the scrutiny will apply to all signatures, not just those likely to vote for Murkowski.

  31. karen marie says:

    Sorry, Joe Miller — we used to be a nation of laws. That ended with the Bush maladministration. Exhibits A and B: Bush and Cheney unmolested by such petty concerns as consequences for committing and bragging about committing war crimes — to wit, torture.

  32. emma says:

    We have to remember that miller has hired an obsfucator and dirty trickster extraordinaire. Tr uth does not matter to miller, van flien and brown (new legal firm perhaps). Anyway, I find it interesting that van flien feels it is so important for the public to have access to public records when he fought so hard to keep everything “palin” secret. Aren’t people still waiting for the state to release emails? i can say with surety, that the election workers and our city clerk’s department are above reproach. The Liar in Chief, the Obsfucator in Chief and the Trickster in Chief have no such record to fall back upon.

    • Bear Woman says:

      Well said!

    • Sourdough Mullet says:

      Agree.While it’s pretty sad that the Miller campaign is challenging votes that are clearly intended for Murkowski, the law (even as badly as it is written) is the law until it is changed to allow for “intent”.

      I have to say though that it brings me quite a bit of glee seeing Miller on the losing end of a Palinesque public records request. The chickens are coming home to roost, huh Joe?

      P.S. Calling Joe Miller “Mr. Wrong” made me chuckle, as it brought back an old, old memory. Anybody else remember the 60′s board game called “Mystery Date”? You went around the board and spun a dial to see who your “date” was – there were a number of dreamy bachelors, but you had to beware “The Dud”, who was a sloppy, ill-mannered guy with greasy hair and… a half-growth of beard. Hmmmm….. ;-)

      • johnny says:

        How does he keep that beard looking so spotty? Does it just quit growing at a certain point or does he cut it to look like a down in the mouth private eye?

  33. the problem child says:

    Now, having a bunch of write ins that look like they were written by the same person may be nefarious, or it may just be that one person was assisting all those who needed assistance to cast their votes. Is illiteracy or non-English language proficiency particularly high in that town?

    Thing is, you can’t tell how many people that person might have assisted to vote for McAdams or Miller, because darkening an oval isn’t distinctive, like handwriting is.

    • the problem child says:

      Also, are records kept for the number of people who request assistance in casting a ballot?

      • chloe says:

        Per the DoE “Polling Place Election Procedures”, the only records kept are the Language Assistance Requests Log, Questioned ballots, and ballots issued for Special Needs, i.e., any voter who is unable to go to the polling place due to age, illness, or a disability. Nowhere in the voting regs is there a requirement to record the number of persons who have assistance when voting in person.

  34. Baker's Dozen says:

    Do Alaskans really have so little to do in the winter that they have to resort to things like this? Come, now. This year you could watch “Sarah Palin’s Version of How She Wants to Be Perceived in Alaska.” You don’t have to make up other stuff to do.

    And does she sit in her favorite spot to do her writing this time of year? I hope so! :-)

    • johnny says:

      People from AK won’t be too impressed with her reality show. They’ve done it all themselves, and when they met bears in the woods there weren’t 100 people around to protect them. I hear that her husband says “you’ve got to give them room”. Oh, from the mouths of the wise, such nuggets. Does anyone remember when the reality show was first announced, IIRC palin said that it wouldn’t be about her family. Sounds like it is ONLY about her family. Too bad she didn’t have that no boys in the bedroom rule a long time ago. Also, I hear she says something so funny, paraphrased “I wouldn’t want anyone to see me QUIT” lol.

      • Baker's Dozen says:

        Maybe, from the way she treats her family, they don’t think it is her family–just actors and props hired for the occasion. Like the cee-ment slab.

      • leenie17 says:

        From the bits I’ve heard, it sounds like one long commercial for ‘Sarah Palin, Candidate for Grifter in Chief’. She’s like that annoying three year old that runs around disrupting a family picnic by continually yelling, “Hey, everybody, look at meeeeee!!!”

        Just seeing her and listening to that voice could ruin whatever beautiful part of Alaska is being shown on the screen behind her. Of course, I don’t see how they can claim that the cement slab in her backyard is a part of Alaska that ANYONE wants to see! I’ll take a real nature program on PBS over that drivel any day.

        Are her fifteen minutes almost up yet…pretty pleeease???

  35. Gimme-a-break, Sarah says:

    Ah, the Master of Hypocrisy himself wants the law followed to the letter, does he? He’s taking the high ground only because he thinks it may benefit himself. I do agree that those rosters should be released, but not only to HIS campaign. They should be released to the campaigns of all three of the candidates, as well as to independent volunteers, so that ALL can count the names on the roster. Wouldn’t it be interesting if they all came up with different numbers?

    Sorry….despite the fact that Miller is in the right with this request, I don’t trust him or his legal team to do the honest thing once they have the rosters in hand. Oversight is definitely needed.

    • jojobo1 says:

      Agreed wholeheartedly.All sides need to look at thme at the same time neither can be trusted to do the right thing IMO at any rate.

      • physicsmom says:

        I agree. In fact, I wouldn’t trust him or his team with the originals, even though the state has said they don’t have time to copy them. They’ll have to make time. Giving any party the originals poses too great a risk of corruption of the data IMO.

    • mominalaska says:

      I’m wondering when you believe Joe Miller was hypocritical?

  36. Largo says:

    Throw it all out and have a run-off. The 25% that McAdams got will vote for the lesser of evils, and Miller will be crushed.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Nope -this part of the 25% that voted for Mr McAdams wouldn’t be voting for either of these two-especially since Mr Ginsberg and Mr Brown appeared on the landscape…
      Mr Ginsberg may have felt comfortable enough with what is going on to go home but I won’t forgive Ms Murkowski for calling on him… it’s a trust thing ya know?

      • Bear Woman says:

        Same thing for this Alaskan! I WILL NOT vote for Lisa Murkowski or Joe Miller, ever! I think one poster some while back had it right…. I’ll write in the name of my dog. She is smarter, predictable, more ethical, and loyal to her principles and the rights of others than either of these two candidates.

        • leenie17 says:

          How sad when a dog has better qualities for office than the candidates…

          (Of course, you might have to worry about bribes from Milk Bone and Omaha Steak!)

        • Baker's Dozen says:

          The problem is, when your dog is elected, she has to take the oath of office. She can certainly choose the holy scriptures that are meaningful to her (“Dog is my Copilot”). But she has to place her HAND on it. :-)

          • Stickler says:

            The Constitution specifies “an oath or affirmation.” You don’t have to believe in God or swear to invisible friends. Our founding fathers made sure of that.

            So Rover could technically hold office.

            One bark for yes, two barks for no. How hard could that be?

    • johnny says:

      I saw an article today from Washington, turns out that they choose the top 2 candidates for the general, even if they had both been from the same party. So it varies from state to state, and people out of this state sometimes see things through the lenses of their own state. But I do wonder what the procedure is if Miller does find some fraud, of course I’m sure he would like that precinct to be thrown out instead of having a re-do. Does anyone know what the procedure is for AK?

      • PascoBill says:

        That’s right – here in Washington, by a fairly recent change, I often see two candidates for an office in the general, with both saying “prefers Republican party” next to their name (I’m on the east side of the state, so that happens a lot – two republicans beat out the one Democrat running in a race).

        Wish we had “None of the above” on the general election ballot – like they have in Nevada, I believe. Instead, I generally just don’t choose either – it just encourages them.

      • Yeah, that was something new this year. I’m not sure I like it. I’m not sure why we even did it, but I remember that voting change was on the ballot. I’m pretty sure I voted against it.

        It just seems to me that voting isn’t one of those things that should be left to the states (ducks all the states’ rights people throwing things). We should have the same procedure for voting in all the states and then there would be less confusion about what’s allowed and what’s not.

        • leenie17 says:

          As fas as I’m concerned, state and local races can be run however the majority of residents want them, but the procedures in races for national positions should be universal throughout the country, as should voting machines and security processes.

          I suppose having two different kinds of procedures for elections going on simultaneously would be too confusing (if a state chooses to use some other kind of system), but there ought to be some amount of standardization for races that ultimately affect all of us.

        • jojobo1 says:

          I would have to duck also. especially with the difference in the republican versus the democratic primaries and how votes are allocated.They should be divided the way he democrats do and split the vote counts. McCain would have never won the primary if that had happened.The republican primary leaves a lot of voters with no real choice after a certain point unlike the democrats.

      • A fan from CA says:

        CA also just changed to this system for the future. It was pushed by the Rethugs and done during the primary election as a ballot proposition. It didn’t seem to have much opposition. I voted No but with light turnout it got passed.

  37. leenie17 says:

    While I have no respect for either candidate and feel that Lisa tried to spindle, fold and mutilate several election rules, I have to agree with the Miller camp (ohhhh, that hurt to type!) that the registers should be inspected and compared to the number of ballots.

    In fact, why isn’t this standard procedure whenever there is a close vote?

    Our entire election system needs a thorough and comprehensive overhaul, from the kinds of machines used, to the procedures for securing the voting process, to the whole issue of campaign financing. We have come from being a nation that was admired in the world for our democratic election system to being the laughing stock of the world for the corruption and manipulation of our voting process. Unfortunately, the people who hold the power to change the system are the very people who benefit the most from the current dysfunction…and once again, the voter is left to wonder what happened to the democratic process.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      I think you are correct that there needs to be an overhaul but I also think that while we may have had a golden moment or 2 along the way our election system has never really made it to a point where we can breathe easy about it all.
      Our country’s history is full of episodes of mass disenfranchisement of the voter, including the poll tax/literacy test dodges of living memory which were used successfully to close black Americans out of the voting booth.
      It’s a work in progress like most democratic institutions.
      It’s a real pain so much of the work revolves around giving the boot to those who work to game the system… sure getting tired of that myself.

    • johnny says:

      I don’t think that 10k votes makes it a “close vote”. But I wish Murkowski would have been able to see the same data, ie the lists, when she DID lose in a close vote. Miller just can’t give up, he’s too much in debt, no government job to give him entitlements and a whole bunch of burned bridges in AK. I have no sympathy for him.

  38. WakeUpAmerica says:

    Pretty funny for the vaguely bearded clown to accuse the pipe cleaner clown of hypocrisy. Then too I really liked this one: “…pick and choose which ones she wants to follow and which ones she will violate.” I guess Miller recognized that action as he has committed it himself so many times. As I don’t have a dog in this fight, it is fun to sit on the sidelines and watch the Alaskan clown fight. The added bonus is reading your articles, AKM. I truly enjoy your style of writing. ; – }

    • jojobo1 says:

      I have no real dog in this fight either and one of the many reasons I like this blog is because it is not all one sided even if it is a progressive blog.If something is done wrong it doesn’t matter which party it is it is talked about. You go to some places and they will not admit to any one side being wrong unless it is the other side.While it may take a very deep breath LOL this blog and the people on it can admit when even someone they may not like or agree with maybe right.When have we ever seen the conservative blogs do the same???

  39. Evelyn says:

    I hate that the Miller camp is right. I love that SP’s successor, Gov SP, is in shifting sand up to his neck – skirt legalities, support Lisa and incur the quitter’s revenge – or do what is right, risk a Palin-Miller takeover.When it’s so easy to do the right thing, why shimmy? My own opinion is that Lisa wins either way.

  40. CO almost native says:

    Super-secret poll books= court filings galore. What a way to increase employment in Alaska *sigh*

  41. It pains me to say it, but I agree that Miller has it right on the ballot thing and the recount. Maybe that’s due to the involvement of the lawyer who was on the wrong side of the Florida 2000 recount – he probably knows all about improper ballots and improper handling of ballots.

    The whole thing with sorting the ballots is just weird. Did someone working at that polling place think that the rules of ballot handling didn’t apply to them and they just wanted to be helpful, or did they really do something to add or get rid of some of the ballots? Miller is right, the only way to tell is to check the signatures of registered voters and the list of those who signed in to vote.

    What a mess. And Lisa isn’t looking too good in this one. I have to wonder, if and when she goes back to Washington for another six years, if the voters will still remember how shady this all was the next time she is up for re-election. Many of them seem to have very short memories.

  42. Leota2 says:

    The Miller campaign is correct that they should be able to see the signature book.
    Uuuuggghhh. He has that right and the election board needs to get on it.

    Of course, if he becomes a senator he will surely try to step on the rights of others too. It’s who he is.

    • funnyhaha says:

      Why is Miller only asking to see the signature books for certain precincts? Why isn’t he interested in all of the precincts?

      I know why; some favored Miller more than others. He only wants to see the precincts in which Murkowski won.

      • jojobo1 says:

        Hope someone else besides Millers side is looking with them and that all are looked at.Murkowski could do the same for him and the votes counted fro him. I surely remember how long it took for the senator from Minnisota to be seated and because the Governor was a republican it went even slower.I agree when things are in question everything should be done to insure an accurate count.Anyone know who exactly these people who complained were???

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