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January 25, 2022



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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Making History: Murkowski Candidacy Unites the AK Democratic Party & the GOP

Monday morning, I received an email press release that the Alaska Democratic Party was announcing that they would be joining the AK GOP in a lawsuit against the State of Alaska Division of Elections.   The suit alleges that the Division of Elections is violating its own regulations (specifically 6 AAC 25.070(b)) by allowing voters to look at a list of write-in candidates with their names and political party affiliations:

The DOE’s unprecedented listing and posting of Murkowski’s name violates Alaska law. The ADP filed the lawsuit seeking to prevent the State from illegally providing information about write-in candidates, to ensure that election law is followed, and to protect the integrity of the voting process.

Alaska Democratic Party Chair Patti Higgins asked, “If you allow poll workers to assist voters with more than procedure, where does it stop?”

Higgins stated, “The Division of Elections has directed poll workers to provide a list of write-in candidates to voters who request assistance. This is illegal. The State of Alaska has already determined in 6 AAC 25.070(b) what is allowed when assisting voters.

That is the law. It must be followed.”

6 AAC 25.070(b) states, “Information regarding a write-in candidate may not be discussed, exhibited, or provided at the polling place, or within 200 feet of any entrance to the polling place.”

There was a press conference at 11:00 AM, where the lawyer for the Democratic Party, Thomas Daniel, explained the lawsuit. (The Republicans didn’t make it for that one.)
The Party then handed out a packet of information which included the lawsuit and the back-and-forth communication between Div. of Election’s Chair Gail Fenumiai and the AK Democratic Party…joined in the last letter by the AK Republican Party.

(NOTE: For you astute Mudflatters, yes…Tom Daniel is the very same attorney who dismissed several ethics complaints while he was under contract to the Personnel Board. And, yes, one of them was Arctic Cat. He also did NOT dismiss the Legal Defense ethics complaint which was eventually completed by Tim Petumenos. Our handshake was only slightly awkward…Alaska politics is all about strange bedfellows.)

At 2:00 pm, there was a hearing led by Judge Frank Pfiffner, who did a good job asking both sides some tough questions.

However, he made several points that neither Asst. Attorney General for the Division of Elections Margaret Paton-Walsh nor Murkowski attorney Scott Kendall (in my opinion) seemed to sufficiently address:

– The portion of the US Code that DOE points to as their reason for using the voter lists (Sec. 1973aa-6) is specific to “Voting assistance for blind, disabled or illiterate persons”. Alaska Statute 15.15.240 is based upon that Federal Law. Judge Pfiffner wanted to know how is this an appropriate application to this situation?

– Everything hinges on regulation 6 AAC 25.070(b): “Information regarding a write-in candidate may not be discussed, exhibited, or provided at the polling place, or within 200 feet of any entrance to the polling place, on election day.” Judge Pfiffner wanted to know how AS 15.15 240 could supercede this?

The judge has given DOE and the Murkowski camp until 12:00 noon on Tuesday to provide further information. He then will allow AK Dems and the AK GOP to respond by 4:30 pm.

More than likely included in the Democratic response will be something on which DOE’s Gail Fenumiai never provided an answer: whether the Division had ever provided such a write-in list before. After the hearing, Asst. AG Paton-Walsh acknowledged to ADP Executive Director Deborah Williams that this is the first time the DOE has provided a list.

Also after the hearing, Rob Sterling got a chance to speak with attorney Tom Daniel.

You may remember Mr. Sterling from his early voting experience at the Chugiak Senior Center. That experience was part of the basis for the Democrats original complaint to the DOE. It’s a perfect example of what can happen when a supposedly innocuous list of names is provided to very human poll workers:

Rob Sterling went today to the Chugiak Senior Center to cast his early vote. After showing his ID, getting his ballot, and going to his voting area, he asked an election worker, “How do you do a write-in?”

The election worker took Sterling’s ballot, re-oriented it, pointed to the U.S. Senate write-in space, and said:

“Since it’s only you and me in here, what you do is fill in this oval here and write Lisa Murkowski’s name here.”

Then the election worker called over another election worker who provided Sterling with a sheet of paper with Lisa Murkowski’s name. Sterling, who is training to be a poll watcher, said, “I thought you weren’t allowed to do this.” To which both election workers replied, “We were told we could.”

Mr. Sterling was shocked and reported the incident to the Alaska Democrats. His shock was understandable, after viewing the instructions on “Write-Ins” out of the Division of Election’s own “Polling Place Election Procedures” from 2008:

The former volunteer poll worker who provided the guide, Wendy Farleigh, remembers her 2008 Early Voting training. She recalled that “you can never ever say the [specific] name for the voters.” If someone needed a name read, the poll worker would have to read the entire ballot.

How they went from that to providing a list of write-ins I’ll never know.

Judge Pfiffner promised a ruling by 9:00 am Wednesday morning. I won’t even attempt to make a prediction. I’ve been disappointed in Alaska legal proceedings so many times before.

Finally, as I was exiting the building, I had another “weird Alaska politics” moment…the sight of Bill McAllister standing with the State of Alaska and Murkowski folks:

You might remember Bill as the former Press Secretary pit bull for then-Gov. Sarah Palin. He left that position last summer, before Palin resigned, to start a new communications position with the Department of Law. It’s really interesting to see him with the Murkowski folks–long-time enemies of Palin.

Like I said…strange bedfellows…Alaska is just weird.



94 Responses to “Making History: Murkowski Candidacy Unites the AK Democratic Party & the GOP”
  1. cg says:

    That’s right. Your message is clear. Here, pardon my liberty, I offer my interpretation:
    Yardsale! Death cookies!

  2. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Apologies for the obvious typos, I should have proofread.

  3. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Well it is not usually my wont to participate in such discussions because I am an extreme outsider and because my opinions in this context have no more weight or merit than anyone elses so it could be construed as bloviation.

    I guess the main point I should like to make is that the intent behind the election has been almost lost if not indeed lost by the clouds of smoke, dust and detritus thrown up over the electioneering issue that have obscured the salient facts. Miller has beyond any doubt proven to be “unfit” for the office of Senator. By the same token Murkowski has disqualified herself by a) her voting record leading up to this election and b) her obvious sense of entitlement manifested by running as a writein and thereby further complicating and obfuscating the choice for Alaskans.

    What gives me pangs of regret and darkens my perspective on the future is that so many Alaskans cannot seem to grasp the obvious difference between the candidates and instead cling with inexplicable tenacity to affiliations that defy logic and evidence.

    In an odd kind of juxtaposition, Alaska along with Hawaii being the last states to report their election results and hence being largely ignored, they may indeed be a form of bell-weather for the trend of politics nationwide when viewed in retrospect. Is so, then our collective futures are very much in doubt because evidently government will be increasingly dominated by a radical minority of ideologs with no foundation in reality at all. Now that would be a great pity.

    Good luck Alaska and GOTV.

  4. GoI3ig says:

    I have to sadly report that the Bill Sheffield message is working. I talked with two different people today who said they would prefer McAdams, but they fear a vote for him, is a vote for Joe.

    All this garbage of people voting defensively has really weakened the process. Vote your beliefs and values. Should either Lisa or Joe win, there won’t be any big difference. Both will be goose stepping along with McConnell and the party of “no.”

    Vote Scott McAdams, the true Alaskan in the race.

    • Millie says:

      Totally agree. In the primary there was a move on to vote for Miller to overcome Murkowski and assure we could get McAdams in the position. And, look at the mess we are in. Vote for whom you have vetted and want in office….I think that is the only way to go. No playing games! My suggestion: Mr. McAdams!

  5. Valley_Independent says:

    Thanks, Linda, for another important post. Alaskan politics are indeed weird, but I’m glad the two major parties have banded together to make them fair. The copy of the instructions from the 2008 election is priceless – that should be all the consistent instruction needed. After that, I agree with other posters – if you really care enough about the candidate to vote for them, you should at least be able to spell their names on your own.

  6. Mudpuppy says:

    The parties are united on this because they want to limit your vote to their choices to their selections. The NYT average of polls today listed McAdams chances of winning at 4.6%. Alaska remains a deeply red state and Miller or Murkowski will be the next Senator.

    • guest says:

      I don’t understand the polls. But perhaps it depends on one’s perspective and if one is driven by a party view of things.
      The majority “party” in Alaska has no party affiliation. I understand the math of speculating on what voters will do by party, however, how do they scientifically speculate on what the non-partisan majority of voters will do?
      Unaffiliated voters – twice the size of the Republican party and 3 times the size of Democratic Party.

    • dreamgirl says:

      Polls smholes, Alaska, as Lease-a M. pointed out today on The Racheal Maddow Show, has 54% independents or undecideds. Scott McAdams has very good odds, especially considering he has Alaskans best interests at heart and is intelligent on tribal issues as well.

      A vote for Murky is a vote for Miller. They agree on most of the same issues.

      A vote for McAdams is a vote for values.

      • Baker's Dozen says:

        A vote for Lisa is a vote for Lisa. A vote for Joe is a vote for Joe. A vote for Scott is a vote for Scott. A vote for Lisa BECAUSE you are afraid of Joe is a vote for Palin and the Tea Party. Why the difference? Because if you sincerely believe in one candidate’s values and positions and qualifications over another and vote that way, they your vote is never wasted. You have spoken your mind.
        When you vote for someone instead of your preferred candidate because you are afraid of the third candidate, then you are letting the fear control you and make your decisions. Make your decision rationally despite any fears you have. Scott can’t win if people are so afraid of Joe that they vote Murkowski. But I don’t see his numbers going up, or hers. Scott’s got the only chance of rising numbers.
        And if Miller does get elected, he’ll be under much tighter reign than Lisa. He’s too much of a loose cannon for the Republicans to even trust him with the lunch order.
        The Tea Party is the party of fear. Don’t let them make your decisions for you. Do it yourself and vote for what you think is best for you, your country, and Alaska.

      • Millie says:

        There is no way they can get an accurate poll in Alaska. As mentioned, too many undeclared and non partisan….and many have cell phones and no land lines. The Republicans have been puffing smoke throughout the nation with these upcoming elections and I think they are in for a rude awakening.

    • marlys says:

      We have a week to go before our awesome upset..Go McAdams!

  7. SaveOurWinters says:

    I can’t believe that we are selling our souls to the republican party establishment. I actually believed that this election was about the democratic party uniting and taking not only the United states senate but also the State senate back. I am seriously questioning whether or not I should just vote for Murkowski.

  8. Ellen K says:

    I think you need to get another Lisa M. to register as a write-in candidate. Pronto.

  9. cg says:

    If I were Joe, I. would. shut. up.
    Never mind being senator, he’s walking himself into being disbarred.

    In the meantime, Lisa’s lecturing about how it’s citizens’ right to ask these things: “…resume…where we work…” Something like “community involvement”. So, Lisa. Could you please qualify and quantify your relationship to Arctic Power and PacWest? Was it lobbying, legal services, or board service?

    Funny – Scott McAdams is the candidate that would like to stick with issues. The guy with nothing in the closet.

  10. Bretta says:

    GOP Randy, in regard to the Joe Miller – FNSB debacle: “That dog just don’t hunt.”

    Well, Randy, looks like you were right. Joe has been outed as a liar, a cheat, a deciever, and worse.

  11. CO almost native says:

    Perhaps Alaska could schedule a do-over?

    • beth says:

      IMHO, CO a n, that is the *only* solution to this ginormous mess. By having the level of ‘assistance’ that it did at early on-site polling places, the DoE has totally and utterly made a mockery and sham of the entire *process* of voting for Senator.

      It’s *not* that one party’s candidate might get elected, (or not); it’s not that the R or D candidate might win (ir not), it’s that *neither* the R or D candidate got a fair shake. By the DoE *purposefully* (and illegally) inserting itself into the early on-site voting process, it ensured *none* of the voters were afforded the conditions under which they, by law, were/are *supposed to have* for casting their ballot. There is NOT to be *any* influence –undue or otherwise– on a voter at the polling place and in the voting booth…the DoE and poll workers thumbed their collective noses at that mandate. Systematically and repeatedly.

      *ANY* results from votes cast for Senator under the conditions created by the DoE at early on-site polling places have been severely compromised and, dollars to donuts, the Fed is going to have more than a field day with ’em…and the entire tally of results for Senator from this election, I bet’cha, will be thrown out. beth.

  12. huntforfood says:

    I find I’m a bit uneasy with the “bipartisanship” being displayed here. If we are to have a system whereby every citizen has the right to vote for the person they believe will best do the job, and a citizen (who has already decided who they are voting for) asks a question (how do I write in my candidate, or even, how do I correctly spell that candidate’s name) and is assisted in accomplishing their vote, I’m not sure that I agree that that is wrong, or “electioneering”. The purpose of these lawsuits seems more about throwing elbows in the polling place and jockeying for position than it does fairness, justice or voting rights. Perhaps I am completely missing something, but what I have heard so far makes me worry more about the people who voted early, wrote in a candidate, and are possibly going to have their votes discounted on a technicality hinging on interpretation of the “letter” of the law, rather than the intent or spirit of the law. Someone, please assure me that this isn’t the democratic party being self righteous with no regard for the votes of those people, and that the law in question is really meant to keep people from properly spelling the candidate’s name, or accomplishing a successful write in vote, because that is what seems this is about so far.

    • BearWoman says:

      There would be no problem if election personnel WHEN ASKED said, you fill in the oval and write the person’s name here. They should not provide the correct spelling of a person’s name or a list of names.

      It should be the VOTER’s RESPONSIBILITY to know whose name they wanted to write in and how to spell it. If you support someone, copy their damn name on a piece of paper OR your sample ballot and take it in the booth with you and copy that onto the official ballot. Take your official ballot and deposit in the Diebold machine and take your sample ballot with you. If you support someone but can’t be bothered to learn how to spell the name and write it in correctly, how serious are you?

      The main point is, there have been other write-in candidates (two serious) and elections has NEVER provided a list of names before. WHY NOW? It is clear that they are gaming the system.

      I’ll even go on and speculate… Fair warning — the elections personnel have taken this action because they do support MILLER and figure that more middle of the roaders will vote for Lisa, thus pulling votes from Scott. These same MILLER supporting elections officials by taking this unprecedented action knew there would be challenges and the more write-in ballots that are thrown out, the better chance THEIR candidate (Miller) has.

      • Bretta says:

        One can only hope that the GOP’s senatorial candidate has finally and completely imploded:

      • guest says:

        I completely disagree, but hadn’t though of that. Logical.
        I think it’s transparent – they’re motivated to help Lisa. Division of Elections is taking direction (maybe) from Parnell’s Law department. Remember them…?

        The current Governor Sean Parnell was an attorney for Patton Boggs, the firm hired to lobby for opening ANWR, by Arctic Power.
        He took over the Anchorage office for the firm, which just happened to represent Exxon.In his role as partner in the Anchorage office of Patton Boggs, a global political powerhouse that touts itself as “among the first national law firms to recognize that all three branches of government could serve as forums in which to achieve client goals,” Parnell helped Exxon deal with a state still angry at the company for smearing Prince William Sound with 11 million gallons of crude oil back in 1989.
        He went to Patton Boggs from the state Division of Oil and Gas where he arrived after leaving ConocoPhillips. He was hired by ConocoPhillips as director of government relations after serving as a state lawmaker, a member of the national Energy Council and co-chairman of the state Senate Finance Committee in the late 1990s.
        He had deep connections to Murkowski. In 2002, Parnell volunteered to head the new governor’s Department of Law Transition Team. Parnell was one of three attorneys on the review team of the Department of Law, under Murkowski Attorney General Gregg Renkes.
        Parnell was employed at ConocoPhillips.

        The new Native Corporation PAC for Lisa is essentially Arctic Power reinvented. It isn’t about the Native Corps freaking about losing 8a contracts; that’s not going away, no matter who’s in office.
        First, it’s about Native Corporations essentially gaining a tribal government-to-government status that will expand their power exponentially, especially when coupled with Hawaiian sovereignty as outlined in the Akaka Bill.
        Second, it’s about ANWR.

        Paton Boggs press release:
        “Mr. Parnell joins Patton Boggs after being appointed in 2003 by Governor Murkowski to the position of Deputy Director of the State of Alaska’s Division of Oil & Gas. As Deputy, Parnell was a member of the State of Alaska’s gas pipeline negotiating team where he provided advice and counsel to the governor and senior staff on commercial and policy issues related to commercializing Alaska North Slope gas.
        Before serving in the Murkowski administration, Mr. Parnell was Director, State Government Relations, at ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. His state political career included a term as a State Senator from 1996-2000, where he served as Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, as a Member of the Senate Majority Leadership and was a Member of the Resource Committee. Parnell also was a State Representative 1992-1996 where he was a Member of the House Finance Committee. From 1987-2000 Parnell maintained an active commercial litigation law practice.”

      • Millie says:

        Why aren’t voters being responsible in researching the candidates before going to the polls. I don’t think folks should have to ask for a ‘list’ of ‘write in’ candidates. They should already know who they are and have vetted them and be assured who they will be voting for….and how to spell their name, should it be Murkowski. (God forbid!)

      • huntforfood says:

        I haven’t seen any reference in any newspaper articles to poll workers handing out a list of names without being asked for help, but perhaps I missed something credible. I agree people should be responsible for knowing the name of the person they want to vote for, I bet that most, if not all, do. I know quite a few people who are poor spellers, and quite a few seniors who have poor memories in general, and might need to have the name spelled out. I guess they will just have to do their best to remember to bring it themselves. I bet Murkowski wishes she was named Smith. At any rate, I still believe the law could and should probably be tweaked to allow for some assistance, when requested, for those in need. And, I still believe the belligerence, ugliness and desperation of all of the candidates (and their supporters) is making this an issue blown out of proportion.

        • Alaska Pi says:

          I just flat disagree with you.
          Seniors are as responsible as any other voter to prepare themselves to vote. Using one’s sample ballot , filling it out as a template- including spelling the name of a write-in, is simple and easy. And has been adequate for years and years as an assistance to voters and well within the law.
          Nothing has changed except this election’s high profile write in campaign.
          Assuming that spelling is something voters should be assisted with is ridiculous- there is already a legal way for the voter to manage that on their own.
          What you seem to be calling belligerence, ugliness, and desperation by so many folks is a serious outcry about a procedure which has never been used before, contravenes the written law directly, and is insupportable because voters have many remedies at their disposal ALREADY to meet the challenge a write-in may pose.
          That the State of Alaska Election Division would provide these lists before the write-in application date is passed is another issue and makes a further muck of the whole thing.
          Fair elections have been a dream for all Americans- we’re not there yet and we sure don’t need the dang Div of Elections making a hash of the gains we have made.
          This issue is not blown out of proportion- it has not received enough attention in my book..
          We’ll see what the Supreme Court has to say to the State’s appeal of the judge’s ruling and if it goes bad from there , I think we need to amend our laws and or state constitution.

          • huntforfood says:

            How would you feel about the law being changed so that all candidates who decide late (up to 5 days before) to compete in the election can have their names appear in an alphabetical list in the polling places? If that was legal, would it still be a problem? It seems like that would be a more democratic way of conducting the election, considering that the winners of the primary (who are not always the people we would support if the field were more open) have their names on the ballot. Or, does the two party system, with it’s long, expensive primary campaign season, and lock on the vote deserve to be protected and preserved forever? Is it a necessity?

    • CO almost native says:

      You are missing something- actually, two somethings. One: if write-in candidates still can register up to 5 days before the election, but a list of write-in candidates was already printed and distributed to the polls, then those not on the list are discriminated against. Not that they would a chance of winning, but the purpose of election workers is to make the election as fair to all as possible.

      Two: the rules In most states) allow election workers to show any voter how the ballot works, including how/where to fill in any candidate’s name. (so far we are on the same page). However, if the election worker spells”Murkowski” for the voter, shows where to write her name, AND reminds the voter to fill in the oval- that is unduly assisting or influencing a voter. What if all you wanted was to know where to write? Now you have an official telling you what to do, and that may cause you to vote in a way you hadn’t planned on. The precedents for these safeguards go back to the days of freed slaves first getting the right to vote, and how legal immigrants like the Irish and Italians were treated at polling places.

    • Baker's Dozen says:

      If you don’t know how to spell a candidate’s name and ask, how do you know you’ll get a correct answer? The person may spell it incorrectly to negate your vote. They may spell a different candidate’s name. They might just misspell it because they don’t know either.
      If you want to write in a candidate, then you should come to the polls prepared to do so. In addition, having this done aloud at the polls may influence other voters that are there, and that’s electioneering.
      Don’t people in Alaska get sample ballots? This is where you figure out how to write in a candidate, not at the polling site, and you take it with you to copy.
      Voters are required to do at least some minimum preparation to vote. Filling out a sample ballot if you need to seems like a perfectly reasonable expectation to me.
      And, to be truly fair, one must follow both the letter and the spirit of the law. If you don’t follow the letter, you have no standard.

      • ks sunflower says:

        Your points are some of the most cogent I’ve read. They are also the amongst the last I am reading at this late hour before retiring to bed, so I appreciate them immensely because there has been so much craziness in politics today.

        It is so nice to end the day reading logical, straightforward comments that go straight to the essence of the problem being discussed.

        Thank you, Baker’s Dozen for taking the time to write. You really give me hope that sanity and reason will prevail. So many people write so well here, but you have taken first place in my heart tonight because your clarity has resonated through cyberspace. What a delightful counterpoint to the Miller people Rachel interviewed tonight who just mouthed phrases and couldn’t discuss why they believed them; they were not thinkers, they were robots programmed to repeat slogans while parading their ignorance in public. These people could never keep pace with mudpups.

        Also, too – you made me smile with delight when your wrote and I read “Voters are required to do at least some minimum preparation to vote.” Ta-dah – well and truly said. My goodness, are they so very incompetent and/or lazy that they couldn’t write down their candidates on a slip of paper and place it in their pocket to take out behind the curtains and help them remember who they want to vote for? Makes me sad to realize that some folks who vote cannot even think well enough to formulate that simple plan.

        • ks sunflower says:

          Oops – just saw that Bear Woman had brought up the slip of paper before me (sorry, Bear Woman, just consider that I am merely “seconding” your suggestion).

        • Baker's Dozen says:

          Well, I haven’t been this red since I fell asleep at the beach as a teen! Now, I’ll just draw my well suncreened toe through the sand.
          Thank you

    • leenie17 says:

      Think of it as the difference between process and candidates.

      The poll volunteers are permitted to assist the voter with performing the correct PROCESS. They are NOT permitted to provide suggestions, information or list of the CANDIDATES.

      Sort of like a real estate agent or attorney telling you how to go about buying a house…they can help you with all the steps involved but can’t tell you WHICH house to buy.

  13. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Simple Mind and Moose Pucky:

    Another way of looking at it is the thinking that rational republicans who aren’t even aware of Murkowski running as a write in would be inclined to vote for McAdams, as I believe an early poll showed that without Murkowski in the picture the race was MUCH closer between Miller and McAdams, hence draw off as many moderate republicans as possible to Murkowski. Further to that, since it is facially apparent that this list business is illegal, the Murkowski votes will be negated, win win for Joe.

    The same thinking could be applied to democratic voters. With polls showing McAdams running a distant third flashing Murkowski in front of dems might tempt some of them to vote for her believing that is the only way to prevent Miller from winning. Once again, every writein for Murkowski thus influenced would be nullified thus another win win for Joe.

    I think we can expect massive challenges to votes for Murkowski coming from the Miller camp.

  14. Marnie says:

    “Like I said…strange bedfellows…Alaska is just weird.”

    Politics is a business and businesses are amoral.

  15. Simple Mind says:

    Its hard to fathom how the Parnell/Campbell/Sullivan administration figured on this one. They had to know this would blow up in their faces. Since Parnell has, up to this point, been a Palin/Miller supporter, its doubly hard to figure why they would go out of their way to set the State up for extensive litigation by instituting a very sketchy policy that appears to favor Murkowski. The “out there” interpretation is that they did this to intentionally flame the process and hopefully invalidate a bunch of Murkowski votes. The more likely root cause is, however, just garden variety rank incompetence

    • Moose Pucky says:

      Parnell may be having serious second thoughts (and is likely being pressured by others) about that Miller support.

      Furthermore, he excelled at messing up elections when he was Lt. Gov. and in charge of Elections. That’s when he allowed bad wording on ballot measures to deliberately mislead voters. Got away with that. Might as well give this shenanigan a try also.

  16. beth says:

    The problem in throwing out ONLY those on-site early ballots with Murkowski written on them, as I see it, is that those votes *could have* gone to either Joe or Scott had the list(s) *not* been provided; to me, *that* is the bottom line.

    Even beyond the illegality of the DoE actually providing the correct spelling and specific instructions on how to write-in Murkowski, the mere presence of those lists –just there for the asking…and in some instances, even *inside* the voting booth!– IS telling the voter that the names printed on the ballot (McAdams and Miller) are really NOT the best option for them [the voter.] Not only that, but since those candidates aren’t the best option, the DoE/poll workers *strongly* suggest the voter cast their ballot for the write-in (list provided) candidate.

    That being the case (and how can it not be?) it’s totally conceivable that Murkowski received some of her write-in votes as a *direct* result of intimidation and/or electioneering on the part of the DoE and poll workers providing the list and *specific* instructions!

    And here’s why that’s so problematic:

    Let’s say that Polling Location Q had 19 folks write-in Murkowski. Of those 19, seven had every intention of voting for her as a write-in, B…U…T, the other twelve had gone to vote with the intent of voting for the *printed* Senate candidate: eleven for McAdams and one for Miller.

    If ONLY the Murkowski write-ins are disallowed, Scott is ‘down’ eleven votes he would have *otherwise* received and Joe is down one he would have otherwise received.

    And let’s also say that at Polling Place W, the numbers are: 10 total Murkowski write-ins of which 4 were from-the-git-go intentional for her, 1 was ‘intimidated’ away from McAdams, and 5 were ‘intimidated’ away from Miller. Scott is ‘down’ another 1 and Joe is ‘down’ another 5.

    If you add those two polling places together, Murkowski got –on her own– 11 votes; McAdams lost/was electioneered *out of* 12; and Miller lost/was electioneered *out of* 6.

    And if we further say that Miller received (via the ‘old fashioned’ way of filling in the oval next to his name) 180 votes at Polling Place Q and 50 votes at Polling Place W, he has 230 votes — …McAdams (via the ‘old fashioned’ way of filling in the oval next to his name), received 155 votes at PPQ and 75 at PPW for a total of 230 votes. Thus, by the ‘old fashioned’ way, there is a flat-out tie result — both have 230.

    B..U..T had the electioneering/intimidation/’assistance’ NOT been there, had the *printed* candidates NOT ‘lost’ the casting of the vote *for them!* (to Murkowski) *because of* the DoE and poll workers ‘assistance’, the vote tally would be different. TOTAL votes for Miller would be 236 and for McAdams, 237. Thus, McAdams wins. By one vote. And that’s all that’s needed…which ever candidate gets the *most* votes, wins.

    To my way of thinking, ALL on-site early voting for Senator *has* to be disallowed. With the very real possibility that votes *were* ‘diverted’ from the *printed* candidates, the whole process *was* absolutely compromised. BIG TIME!

    I don’t know how many folks have cast their vote for AK Senator with the early on-site option offered by the state, but I’d imagine there are thousands…and I don’t imagine any of them would be too pleased that *their* vote was disallowed *just because* the DoE/poll workers screwed up [ignored the law], but in the interest of a CLEAN election, I believe having a *total* re-do of ALL the voting for a Senator is the *only* option.

    I know it’d be expensive, I know it’d be a pain in the rump, but I also know it’d be the ONLY way to have results that are truly reflective of the wishes of the electorate. [OK…I get down off my soapbox, now.] beth.

    • Blooper says:

      Wow, great analysis, Beth. You really do drive home the argument of exactly how and why providing those lists may have compromise the integrity of the vote.

    • leenie17 says:

      I agree with you that the only fair way to do this is to redo the entire Senate vote.

      Just taking out the write-in votes prevents all those people from having their votes counted, which is illegal, but also doesn’t take into account those other voters who may have been influenced by the list being posted. There is no way to determine what their votes would have been without those lists or ‘helpful poll volunteers’.

  17. Hasn’t Lisa been assuring us that a vote for her is as good as a vote for Scott McAdams because Alaskans are smart enough to fill in a name and the oval? If we’re that smart, why do we need a list of write-in candidates available when we go to the polls? Maybe Lisa doesn’t give us as much credit for being smart as she claims.

    • Bretta says:

      TeeHee if the GOP candidate is discredited and a vote for LeasA Merchantski is a vote for

      Scott McAdams

      then let’s all vote for Scott McAdams.

      It’s logical to me.

      Go Scott!

  18. Lacy Lady says:

    This mess should be cleaned-up before next Tuesday

  19. jo says:

    It is my opinion the democrats are planning on helping Joe Miller win….
    That is what is going to happen.

    • Lee323 says:

      “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
      Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
      While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
      As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
      “‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door-
      Only this, and nothing more.”

      Thanks, Edgar, for the inspiration.

  20. Zyxomma says:

    I’d love to visit Alaska for its wild beauty, and some day, I shall. However, I’m glad I don’t live there. The politics of that lovely state are far too weird for me! I’m content to be a McAdams contributor from afar!

    • Millie says:

      I’ve been here since 1950 and am absolutely embarrassed to see the corruption in our beautiful State. This is not the Alaska of years ago. Sarah and Lisa should just fade into the sunset.

  21. LoveMydogs says:

    It sure would be interesting to see how much money lawyers make off of elections. It seems to be quite the “stimulus package” for them.

  22. Martha says:

    I heard on MSNBC that Murkowski’s campaign is handing out temporary tattoos of her name, so that it can be applied to your fore arm, assuring that her name is not misspelled.

    Does anyone know if there is any truth to that?

    I guess they could all “pull a Palin” and write on their hands too………..geez!

    • KateinCanada says:

      So do you strip-inspect all body parts for tats and if there are some that part has to remain outside the booth during voting?

    • Bretta says:

      It doesn’t matter if she does give you at tattoo – people misplel, mspill, misspell, mispel, mispell all the time for many reasons. Even if it is right write wright in front of your face.
      Merchantcowsky Sturguluski. or is it Sturgelewski? I can’t remember.

    • cg says:

      They have handed out 50,000 of those those rubber bracelets, printed with Lisa’s name. They have told people to wear them into the voting booth. If they are concealed, I guess so?

      Last election, one of us had an anti-Pebble Mine button on a shirt with a sweater and jacket over it. We were asked to take our coats off, then told we couldn’t have the button in the building. Not even stashed in a pocket. I had to actually go put it in the car.

      • bobatkinson says:

        It’s perfectly okay to write a name on your hand, in your pocket, concealed on your body in any way as long as no write in names are displayed within 200 feet of the voting booth. The issue here is that DOE, the very agency responsible for protecting voters from electioneering gimmicks, is the one doing the electioneering by offering these lists with the candidates names correctly spelled for your convenience. They have taken the liberty of reinterpreting established election law for the benefit of one write in candidate and they very well may get away with it.

        • Valley_Independent says:

          I would contend that if you can’t wear a button where it can be seen, you can’t have it on your hand where it can be seen, either. In the pocket should be okay, if you can keep it there – kind of makes it hard to sign in, though, doesn’t it?

    • jojobo1 says:

      LOL Hope palin reads and sees this wouldn’t it just make her day(NOT)

  23. Hannah says:

    AKM: so in Alaska do you have to register to be a “write-in candidate”? Is that why there is a list of names? Otherwise, wouldn’t all Alaskans of age be on the list?

    This seems strange to me… I’ve written my own name in a few times when I wasn’t about to vote for the “official” candidates. Just as a protest, of course.

  24. LoveMydogs says:

    This business kind of sucks for people who voted early (one reason I haven’t gone to the polls yet). How many early votes will get tossed if it is proven that things have been unfairly predjudiced in Leasa’s favor (which it would appear they have)? If I voted early and put in my ballot fair and square I would be royally POd. Would they toss all of the ballots or just the ones for Leasa?

    The DOE are making fools of themselves (as are Leasa’s team).

    • Ashkee Colorado says:

      Wouldn’t your vote get tossed if you spelled her name like that?

      • cg says:

        No. Because the Division of Elections will be interpreting voter intent. I heard myself with my own ears, Gail Fenumiai say that and that she’s confident it’ll be pretty clear if a vote is for Lisa. “Lisa M.” will be accepted as very clear. I later heard that she’s waiting for an opinon from Law and will of course, take direction on this. But that is what she expects.

        • dreamgirl says:

          So Lisa Mickeymouseki might be considered as a vote? I sure hope the DOE get their heads out of their behinds.

        • Moose Pucky says:

          I would say Gail Fenumail and everyone associated with Alaska’s Div. of Elections are on pretty shaky grounds with their early declarations of policy with regard to write-ins since the Judge ruled against the Div. of Elections today, called their actions irresponsible and arbitrary.

          We can avoid a lot of legal snarls for the rest of the year by just voting for the best candidate, Scott McAdams.

    • Bretta says:

      I’m expecting all of the write-in ballots will be sequestered, at least, if not all of the ballots, during the time in question; those voters are potentially disenfranchised.

      I could understand including the non write-ins as acceptable for the final count but if the alleged improper activity is found to be that, in fact, then write-in votes would not (obviously) be included. It doesn’t seem fair that way, but I can see this scenario.

      And I don’t think you would be getting an apology or a do-over. From Parnell, Campbell, DOL or DOE.

    • bobatkinson says:

      Only the write in votes will be affected as was the case in Homer. Just talked to Deborah Williams and she said the DOE/Murkowski papers filed today are very, very impressive in arguing that Alaska gives deference to individual agencies as the last say in the writing of regs. She said it was a 26 page tough argument full of precedent so Judge Pfiffner’s decision could go either way on this. Yesterday after the oral arguments it was a slam dunk ruling for the judge and he made skeptical statements against the DOE to that effect but now the big guns of the Murkowski team have been brought in and they apparently put forth a very tough legal argument. Tomorrow at 9:00 am we will know how the judge was affected by the arguments pro and con. Every day it is a new development to cheer or anguish over.

      • far from fenway fan says:

        If Murkowski lawyers succeed in this, it will be litigated from now to infinity. I want a clean election. Is it already too late for that?

        • North of the Range says:

          I think it was too late for that the day JM filed for candidacy.

        • Millie says:

          Yea, and how many months will roll on before Alaska has a person in Washington D.C. declared from this election? If Murkowski takes this thing I’m going to be one ticked off Alaskan. I cannot stand even watching her when answering reporters…watched her w/Maddow today and she said absolutely nothing! She’s sounding like Palin!!

  25. Moose Pucky says:

    LKB, you rock!

  26. Moose Pucky says:

    The killer language from Craig Campbell (Lt. Gov.)/Dan Sullivan (A.G.) that makes this lawsuit absolutely necessary. (Good try Parnell administration.) is:

    “This election raises issues of first impression in Alaska and the Division has worked with the Department of Law over the past weeks to analyze the requirements of state and federal law to address the unique circumstances posed by the election.”

    “The list of write-in candidates is the best way for poll workers to provide consistent information and assistance to voters if requested, regarding write-in candidates.”

    Once could argue a brochure about Scott McAdams would be a good way to provide consistent information and assistance to voters if requested, regarding candidates on the ballot.

    Slippery slope here. Who provides the list to the voter? The Democratic poll worker? The Republican poll worker? Who knows what the rules are any more? Are there any rules?

    There is still time for folks to file as “official write-in” candidates. Why was the list sent out so early and with only three names on it, and their parties, and the seats for which they are running. This is unprecedented action.

    See I’m supposed to help you, so if you want help, here’s a list, and here’s where you put the name, and whatever you do, don’t fill in that oval.

    • Thanks…I meant to talk about the fact that the write-ins can still register in the piece above but I wrote this at 3:00 am and forgot. I think that issue by itself is going to be the deathknell of this little list.

  27. Moose Pucky says:

    Here’s to bi-partisanship for fair and balanced elections. Good on Patti Higgins for taking the leadership on this. And, okay, a moment in history. I agree with Randy Reudrich for once on something. Whoa!

  28. bobatkinson says:

    Big question for me here is will all the write in votes cast so far be pulled out. We know they will be challenged by either the Dem/Repub coalition or the Koch Bros wolf lawyers prowling the perimeter because all of write in votes are under a pall of suspicion that they were done with the aid of the list. I early voted in Seward last week and asked the professional and discreet woman there if she had the list and if I could take it into the booth with me. She said yes to both questions and that it was her understanding from instructions given to her by DOE that it was okay for me to use the list in the booth. The longer this goes before Judge Pfiffner rules that the lists are illegal electioneering gimmickery the more early voting will go on and the more write in votes for Lisa will be challenged because the lists remain available. Not looking good for Lisa because I would guess around 6,000 or more people will have voted early by Wed. and if a third of them are write ins then she would lose about 2,000 votes she cannot afford to see go. Quite a show.

  29. Dagian says:

    No, no, no. Alaskan politics and seeing last week’s adversaries as this week’s lunch buddies is normal politics.

    Remember, once people are elected to the House, the first thing they are told is that their ‘enemies’ are not across the aisle, they’re in the Senate!

  30. Bretta says:

    I’m wondering if all this Court Action will distract from whether the GOP senate candidate’s goons, I mean attorneys, will file today an appeal regarding release of his personnel records from FNSB.

    It’s so hard to keep up.

  31. GoI3ig says:

    This is kind of weird. Posing for a picture with the likes of Randy R. took some real intestinal fortitude.

    • He’s actually a very charming man…he’d have to be to survive this long as the Republican Party chair.

      • marlys says:

        Yep, he is rather cool, calm & collected, given the company he keeps. He seems to take the long view on life , like a true elephant.
        RR mans a mean grill at the annual BBQ also, too.

      • GoI3ig says:

        I always heard that Ted Bundy was a charming guy. I still wouldn’t want to have hung out with him.

        I’ve never met Randy, but he has always rubbed me the wrong way in his sound bites on the news. He strikes me as being about as right wing as they come. It also seems odd that he’s supporting the very crew that tried to dump him.

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