Yesterday, about 19 percent of the nearly 93,000 ballots for a write-in senate candidate in Alaska were counted. Eighty-nine percent of the ballots were considered indisputably votes for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, with the oval filled in and her name spelled correctly.
About 8.5 percent of ballots, featuring misspellings such as Murkowsky and Merkowski, were challenged by the Miller campaign. Alaska Division of Elections director Gail Fenumiai overruled the Miller campaign on those ballots, telling the Anchorage Daily News that minor misspellings should not disqualify the ballots. “If I can pronounce the name by the way it’s spelled, that’s the standard I’m using,” said Fenumiai.
The Miller campaign filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, asking for a hearing on Wednesday and requesting that only ballots with write-in votes spelled correctly be counted, citing Alaskan law that states the name written in on the ballot should be “as it appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy.” A judge denied their request for an immediate hearing yesterday, saying that the case could be heard next week. For the time being, the disputed ballots will be set aside.
About 1.5 percent of the ballots were disqualified yesterday, with both the Miller campaign and Fenumiai agreeing that the misspellings were serious enough that voter intent was not clear. One hundred sixty-four votes were cast for people other than Sen. Lisa Murkowski.