Joe Miller’s campaign filed a lawsuit yesterday, asking that the Alaska Division of Elections be allowed to count only correctly spelled write-ins for Sen. Lisa Murkowski as votes for her. The campaign requested that a hearing be set for this afternoon.
After 27,000 absentee ballots were counted yesterday, the gap between Miller and write-in votes had narrowed to 11,333 from 13,439. But with only 12,400 absentee ballots remaining, it’s unlikely that Miller will close the gap, making the outcome of the lawsuit crucial.
The Miller campaign is asserting that Alaskan law only permits correct spellings, citing this passage from state law, “A vote for a write-in candidate … shall be counted if the oval is filled in for that candidate and if the name, as it appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy, of the candidate or the last name of the candidate is written in the space provided.” (Emphasis added.)
In a radio interview this week reported on by the Anchorage Daily News, Alaskan lieutenant governor Craig Campbell said “The courts have been very clear for the last 25 years that voter intent is important. You do not want to disenfranchise voters over a technicality.”
“It is our view that the state improperly deviated from the text of the statute, and is substituting a subjective ‘voter intent’ standard and essentially repealing the legislative objective standard sub silentio,” said Miller campaign lawyer Thomas Van Flein in a statement.
UPDATE: Over at Campaign Spot, Jim Geraghty has a nifty chart showing how the Miller campaign thinks it will be able to pull off a win.