ADN: JUNEAU – GOP nominee Joe Miller is asking a federal judge to keep the state from using discretion in counting write-in ballots in Alaska’s hotly contested Senate race.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, comes the day before election officials planned to begin counting write-in ballots that could determine the outcome of the race.
Miller’s attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said the campaign is seeking a hearing on the matter as early as Wednesday afternoon.
A spokesman for the state Department of Law said he hadn’t yet seen the lawsuit and couldn’t immediately comment.
Miller’s rival, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, waged a write-in campaign after losing the primary to Miller.
Initial returns, including thousands of absentee ballots tallied Tuesday, showed write-ins maintaining a lead over Miller. However, it’s unclear how many of those write-in votes are for Murkowski or were properly cast for her.
Election law calls for write-in ballots to have the oval filled in and either the candidate’s last name or name as it appears on a declaration of candidacy written in. But election officials, pointing to prior case law, have said they plan to use discretion, in consultation with a state attorney, when it comes to misspellings or variations of Murkowski’s name.
While I am not crazy about disenfranchising anyone’s vote because of a misspelling, I can see were vote counters can use their “discretion” to allow all sorts of creative spellings. What is needed in this instance is a clear set of guidelines to determine what is or is not an acceptable spelling for Lisa Murkowski’s name.
What America sorely needs is some tighter controls on voting. Every election it seems like we are regressing into some dysfunctional hodgepodge with selective recounts, ballots “found” at the last minute and court determined outcomes. I really don’t think things will improve until we all demand some sort of uniform integrity standards that both voters and voter counters must adhere too.
Via: Alaska Daily News