November 10th, 2010
05:55 PM ET
12 years ago

Miller v. Murkowski write-in drama could stretch into the weekend

Juneau, Alaska (CNN) – Observers who are following the drama in the nation's last, undecided Senate battle may want to re-arrange their weekend plans.

An official tells CNN that Alaska's write-in ballot count, that began on Wednesday, could stretch into the weekend. Officials had previously thought it could be wrapped up on Friday.

"At this point, the progress that we've made so far – through today - we still have to go thru all 40 districts," said Shelly Growden, Election Systems Manager for Alaska's Division of Elections.

Growden added, "At the end of today we'll be able to re-gauge. But we might go into Saturday."

When asked if the counting of just over 92,000 write-in ballots could even stretch to Sunday, Growden said, "Possibly."

The write-in vote count is aimed at resolving the race between Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and opponent, Joe Miller. Miller defeated Murkowski for the Senate nomination in the state's GOP primary in August. But in September, after initially conceding the race, Murkowski announced she'd run as a write-in candidate.

The air over Wednesday's count of the write-in ballots hung with suspense after the Miller campaign filed a federal lawsuit to try and stop certain ballots from being counted.

Currently, Miller trails write-in ballots by just over 11,000 votes.

Representatives for the Murkowski and Miller campaigns are keeping close watch over election workers as they evaluate ballots and try to determine "voter intent." Rules issued by the Division of Elections say that ballots that are not perfectly filled out, but show a voter's clear intent to support one candidate, may be allowed.

Lawyer Joe Geldhof, an observer for the Murkowski campaign, sees promise for the senator – and possible electoral doom for Miller.

"The trends in the district I've been watching are…there aren't enough challenges to even mount a comeback here," Geldhof told CNN, referring to Miller's chances of success. "And even where there are challenges, the ratios are running three-quarters against throwing the ballots out. Because they're minor misspellings of Lisa Murkowski's name."

But A.J. Ferate, an observer for Miller's campaign, said that discerning a voter's intent has proven to be tricky.

"We're seeing all sorts of different ways that people vote…you can't read somebody's mind when you're standing here," Ferate told CNN.

"There's a lot to review here and a lot to challenge and we'll see how it comes out."

Filed under: 2010 • Alaska • Joe Miller • Lisa Murkowski
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. once upon a horse

    this is going to go on just like the vote in Minnesota a couple of years back. You can bet if Miller loses he's going to demand a recount and it will go on and on. I just hope the people of Alaska have not gotten caught up in the fear tactics of some of the GOP and Tea Partiers and vote NOT to put this faker in office.

    November 10, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. annie s

    The first Republican I've ever rooted for – go Lisa! Ms. Palin's Tea Party candidates scare me to death!

    November 10, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. What is the country coming to

    Don't let it be anothe Flordia..........

    November 10, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. david bidlack

    i wonder if russia would take alaska back? it would at least stop the fruit loop politicians alaska grows from affecting the goverments drection any more. for a state that depends on 40 cents of every dollar in alaska coming from the federal goverment you sure seem to have a dislike of you own country.

    November 10, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Clwyd

    I hope sarah finds a state with Murkowski in office rather than her poodle Miller. it should make for some interesting politics and I hope help ruin sarah forever!-

    November 10, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. vic nashville tn

    Just In
    Unofficial numbers

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski receiving 98% of write in votes even if she get 90% write in votes she will get 82000 votes that more than Miller got

    November 10, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Miller should be ashame of himself, attempting to deny people their voting rights. The 15th Amendment of the Voters clearly states a person can't be denied to vote due to iliteracy and what Miller is really telling people if you can't spell Lisa Murkowski's name then you illiterate. There is no way a misspelling her Murkowski's name can misread be misread for Miller's name.

    November 10, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. AZ DEM

    Don't care either way honestly...only thing that could make this interesting is if Murkowski decides to become an Independent but still caucus with the Republicans because then she won't be bound by their hard stance on a lot of issues shes a moderate on...of course however Murkowski will run back to the very party that CLEARLY could care less if she returned to her position or not

    November 10, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Darth Vadik, CA

    I would say something about hypocrisy, but then again Republicans are evil people for whom lying, cheating and stealing is a point of pride, not shame...

    ...on to more relevant things, why is someone with 30% of the votes challenging someone who has a 20 point lead on him???

    Man-UP, really, hahahaha, more like crybabies of the GObP

    November 10, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. solo

    Miller please go and be a part of dance with the star u done with us here .

    November 10, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  11. Christopher

    After listening to Repubs. cry and whine about the legal challenges Gore filed in 2000, it is funny(or just plain pathetic) to see them engage in the same behavior. I guess they aren't the morally superior beings they claim to be. Surprise, surprise.

    November 10, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Liz the First

    Boy, the rethugs even play dirty against each other! if they had any integrity or respect for our democracy and the ballot box, they never would've usurped the presidency in 2000. these are not honorable people and our country is much poorer for their evil influnence.

    November 10, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  13. roro

    Miller's insistence on the absolute correct spelling of Murkowski shows what a pitiful and frightened person he is.

    November 10, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |