Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Joe Miller: Race Tightens

The Anchorage Daily News tonight reported that 89% of 7,638 write-in ballots thus far are for the incumbent, Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Joe Miller had sued to make sure Alaska's Division of Elections requires exact spellings of write-in candidate's names on ballots, as has been the precedent in prior elections. According to the ADN report, the state has said it will exercise discretion over misspellings and name variations. Miller's suit was the opening salvo in what he predicted could be a lengthy and costly legal battle. Meanwhile a federal judge denied an injunction to immediately stop counting the write-in ballots.

In an email blast sent this afternoon, Miller reported that he had gained 2,600 votes from the absentee ballots, leaving an 11,000-vote gap between himself and Murkowski.

Alaska Vote Count header

The race for U.S. Senate has tightened in Alaska!

Yesterday, the majority of absentee ballots were counted, which significantly tightened the gap between ballots listing a write-in
candidate and me.

With more absentee ballots left to be counted, we picked up 2,100 votes to narrow the gap to around 11,000
between ballots cast for me and write-in votes.

The write-in ballot count starts today.

You may have also heard that we filed suit in federal court asking the state Division of Elections to comply with state law.

Here is why we’re pursuing legal action.

We’re simply asking that the state follow existing law rather than create new standards 36 hours before the vote count starts and after the votes have been cast. Our focus is to keep this election legitimate and fair.

According to Alaska Statute 15.15.360 (11):

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.

This statute does not allow for the election board to weigh “voter intent” or use any other criteria.

When a candidate chooses to go outside of the primary process they also choose the most difficult path to election. That choice has consequences -- not the least of which is a scrutiny in which the law demands exactness in executing the ballot.

Evidence shows that the Murkowski campaign understood this as seen by the millions spent on wristbands, cards and commercials to explain how her last name is spelled.

Several times we have asked the Division of Elections to comply with the clear legislative mandate regarding write-in ballot counts.

The Division rejected the legislative statute. As you can see, the statute tells the Division in no uncertain terms that there shall be "no exceptions" to how the write-in ballots should be counted. Instead the Division of Elections has substituted their own standards.

This last minute change, created yesterday, besides being potentially unconstitutional, is troubling.

Please remember that we’re still in this race to win it.

Above all else, we want a fair election, and we want the law to be followed as written, not as a state employee wants it to be.

Thanks for your continued support,

Joe Miller
Candidate, U.S. Senate
Paid for by Joe Miller for
US Senate Defense Fund

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