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Joe Miller: Alaska Election Officials Using 'Different Standard' for Lisa Murkowski

4 years ago
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As the counting of write-in ballots continues in Alaska, Senate candidate Joe Miller said Thursday that state election officials were using a "different standard" to judge votes for his opponent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Miller, who has sued to disqualify any apparent votes for Murkowski that misspelled her name, told ABC News that the state Division of Elections has "decided to change the approach" to the way it counts write-ins.

The reason for the special treatment, according to Miller, could be because the name "Murkowski" goes back generations in Alaska politics. Her father, Frank, was governor when he appointed her to the Senate seat in 2002.

"That's exactly what's happening here. You've got a different standard that's never been applied before to a write-in campaign," Miller said.

He criticized officials who ruled that misspellings could be counted if the intention was clear.

"And that's exactly why we filed in the complaint in the federal court, trying to get this resolved so the rule of law can be upheld," he said.

Miller, the GOP candidate and tea party choice, conceded that the total number of votes for write-in candidates far outstripped his total. But there are "lots of ballots left to be counted," he said, vowing to continue his legal fight.

"This race is far from over," Miller told ABC News.

Miller also said he received a $20,000 contribution for his legal fight from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which endorsed him after he beat Murkowski in the GOP primary. Sarah Palin's PAC also sent a donation, he said.

Meanwhile, the Anchorage Daily News reported that the ongoing count seems to favor Murkowski, with the incumbent "receiving nearly 98 percent of the write-in ballots cast." By Thursday afternoon, elections officials had reviewed write-in ballots for 32 percent of the precincts.

Miller, a little-known conservative lawyer who went on to get the coveted Palin endorsement, shook up Alaska politics when he defeated Murkowski in the GOP primary. He appeared headed for the Senate until Murkowski decided to stage a write-in campaign. On election night, the number of write-in votes exceeded the number that Miller received by about 41 to 34 percent. Democrat Scott McAdams came in third with 25 percent of the vote.

Filed Under: 2010 Elections, Tea Party

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What happened to "the will of the PEOPLE"? We've seen this before in my home state of Florida.

November 17 2010 at 3:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to laugh; ifyouseenkay wrote a lot of names that can't be considered valid for Murkowski then stated ". . . would they convey my intent for murrkowski?" Proof that the votes that 'convey' meaning should be counted. After the name is spelt wrong and doesn't include capitalization of the first letter.

November 17 2010 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Reverend JIM

Voter intent is the most democratic way Lots of people who vote can not spell dont disenfranchise these people because of that, this is not a spelling Bee its an Election.People are too easily discouraged and will not vote if you make it too difficult. i know you will say then they deserve what they get but that is so anyway. I vote every time and, most times dont get what i want but i keep trying.

November 15 2010 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Reverend JIM's comment

what the hell is voter intent? if i wrote muleer, mullier, milur, mylear, millard, would they convey my intent for murrkowski?

November 16 2010 at 7:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Personally speaking I want to see everyone have their vote count and dont want to see anyone disenfranchised but currently the statutes regarding write-in candidates in Alaska requires a persons name to be spelled correctly as it is written on their petition form...we live in a society of laws and statutes and everyone was aware of the spelling requirement before election day...if people dont like the statute and feel that voter intent is more important than spelling...have the statutes changed by the more concerned about "IMPARTIAL" vote counters using their own judgement to determine voter intent than I am about someones vote being thrown out for letting others use their own discretion you begin on a slippery slope where the integrity of the election can be put in jeopardy...where do they draw the line? 1 letter mispelled? 2 letters? 5 letters? first name ? last name? wrong first name but right last name? Follow the statute as is written...abide by the law....dont like the law then have it changed.

November 13 2010 at 2:27 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I find it hard to believe that Murkowski is receiving 98% of the write in ballots. Thaqt's almost statistically impossible, even if her name was spelled right on every one. Sounds like the fix is in to me.

November 12 2010 at 7:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hi Roger!

Alaska's Division of Elections' ruling seems abundantly reasonable. From the lower 48, it would appear that Lisa Murkowski has successfully pulled off a write-in campaign. One has to question the wisdom of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee contributing to Miller's litigation; while not likely to change Murkowski's overall political views, it might well affect how she votes on some matters where the Republican conference needs her vote. If successful in returning to the US Senate, one can only hope that Murkowski adopts an attitude that comports with views held in the Pacific Northwest and other West coast jurisdictions. The old Ted Stevens' attitude that what's Alaska's is Alaska's and what the other 49 states have is Alaska's, too, can no longer be tolerated in the national interest.

November 12 2010 at 3:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All we need in D.C. is another lawyer. Why did I skip the Senate race in Colorado? The tea party had a lawyer for its candidate. Go Murkowski!

November 12 2010 at 1:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Mr. Miller defeated Murkowski in the GOP primary. Most citizens regardless of political party do not respect the losing candidate who decides to hang around and fumble things up instead of bowing out gracefully. Murkowski is the loser. I have no doubt anymore that the election is a fraud. No Respect For Political Elections and Your Vote Does Not Mean Anything. Stop Voting America!

November 12 2010 at 1:17 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Sharonlynn's comment

I agree with you Mrs. Benson. Joe Miller did win and this election is nothing but fraud.

November 12 2010 at 2:14 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply

Mrs Benson, Joe Miller won in a PRIMARY election between Republicans in Alaska. In accordance with Alaska law, she was permitted to run as a write in candidate for the office, and give ALL of the voters in Alaska make their decision. Isn't that what the Tea Party, and the Constitution stand for, one person, one vote for whom they believe the better candidate? Or is it, only the vote of my group counts, and the rest have to suffer?

November 12 2010 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The law already on the books should be followed. It seems Murkowsky is the clear winner even if mis-spelled ballots are tossed out. If Joe cared about the people of Alaska or America he would bow out.Don't throw good money(not yours) after bad.

November 12 2010 at 1:15 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Roll and Fab

Well ... to be fair, the law should be followed to the letter. Big question here is, does it really changes the outcome?

November 12 2010 at 1:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


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