With about 10,000 more write-in ballots to be counted, Joe Miller leads by around 9,000 votes among uncontested ballots. There are about 7,000 contested ballots that appear to be for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, but have her name misspelled or other discrepancies.
The state will also count about 10,000 absentee and overseas ballots today. “If previous trends hold for the absentee ballot count, it is possible for Joe to gain as many as 1,000 votes against Lisa Murkowski tomorrow,” said Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto in a statement.
The Miller campaign filed a lawsuit last week, asking that only ballots with Murkowski’s name spelled correctly be counted as votes for her. The campaign cited Alaskan law, which states that “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,” and “The rules set out in this section are mandatory and there are no exceptions to them.”
“Lisa Murkowski spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on her spelling bee ad making it very clear that she knew what standard was expected and what had been applied for decades in this state prior to her write-in bid,” said DeSoto in a statement. “She spent tens of thousands of dollars on wristbands, pencils, brochures, and temporary tattoos emphasizing the need for proper spelling. She even convinced the Division of Elections to provide (and went to court to make sure it continued to provide), for the first time in 50 years and, in violation of its own regulations, a write-in list so that voters would know how to spell her name properly. Then, the Division of Elections took the extraordinary step of changing the standard, just 36 hours prior to the start of the count to a newly created ‘voter intent’ and/or phonetic standard.”
“The integrity of the vote is at issue,” he added. “The people of Alaska need to know the law is king, and just because you’re a Murkowski doesn’t mean that the rules get changed to your benefit.”
Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney said in a statement, “Right now, it is likely that the total number of unchallenged Murkowski votes will exceed Joe’s vote count when the process is completed, making it unnecessary for Joe to continue his campaign of disenfranchising Alaska’s voters in court. But we will not claim any kind of victory until every Alaskan has their vote counted.”