Juneau, Alaska (CNN) – When does "M-u-r-k-o-w-s-k-i" spell "M-u-r-k-o-w-s-k-i"?
It depends on who's deciding.
The nation's last Senate race is beginning to look a lot like high stakes hair-splitting.
At issue: not just the spelling of Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski's name on the over 92,000 write-in ballots but, in some cases, how it was written.
And this is sparking fresh debate between observers from her campaign, and others representing Republican opponent Joe Miller, who are watching as officials with the Alaska Division of Elections count the write-in ballots.
Case in point: CNN observed some votes for "Lisa Murkowski." That is the exact spelling of the incumbent Alaska senator's name.
And yet some observers for Miller have questioned: did the person who wrote in "Lisa Murkowski" really mean "Lisa Murkowski?"
Some reasons cited to question the ballot: the handwriting, while correctly spelled, was somewhat hard to read, contained smudges or some other imperfection.
Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto was asked about challenges to those ballots.
"As of yesterday, 89-percent were going unchallenged," DeSoto said. "I think they're saying, if there's a letter, anything that seems different that's not clear…let's just move them to the side and look at them again. That's the intent."
CNN pressed DeSoto on the Miller campaign's confidence that none of the challenges are frivolous.
That's "certainly not our intent to create any frivolous" challenges, DeSoto said.
In one hypothetical vote-counting scenario, if Murkowski continues to see 89 percent of the write-ins as clear votes for her, and even if all of the challenged ballots are thrown out, Murkowski could win the race.
CNN also observed write-in ballots cast for "Lisa Murkoski," "L. Murkosski," "Lisa Macoski," to name a few.
Did voters who cast these ballots intend to vote for the incumbent Alaska senator?
In some cases, the official in charge of deciding – Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai – has said, yes. In rare cases, she has said no.
But it's that determination of a "voter's intent" that has infuriated Miller's campaign and served as basis of its lawsuit.
Murkowski Campaign Manager Kevin Sweeney defended the practice to CNN.
"I think the Division of Elections is doing the right thing, right now, in looking at the intent of the voter and counting the ballots that they believe are cast for Lisa Murkowski," Sweeney said. "I think that every Alaskan who took the time to go to the poll to write out a name, their vote should be counted."
Sweeney continued: "We're seeing that a lot of the challenged ballots right now are perfectly spelled. They've sort of changed the threshold for which they challenge a ballot. Yesterday they, at one point, were challenging…"Murkowski, Lisa" – which were perfectly spelled."