November 11th, 2010
01:16 PM ET
12 years ago

Unofficial Alaska write-in tally presents high hurdle for Miller

Juneau, Alaska (CNN) – For one side, the numbers in the write-in count here are encouraging. For the other, potentially daunting: nearly 98 percent for Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski – and 0.01 percent for GOP challenger Joe Miller.

Those are the current numbers in the dramatic write-in vote count in Alaska to decide the nation's last, undecided Senate race.

The state's Division of Elections released tallies for write-in ballots counted on Wednesday.

The tallies are unofficial - none of the results have been added to any candidate's actual vote result. Instead, these counted ballots were essentially "sorted" into various stacks.

The breakdown:

Of the just over 92,000 write-in ballots to count thus far, Alaska's Division of Elections counted 19,203 on Wednesday.

17,134 of them – or 89.23 percent - were sorted into stacks as being clear, unambiguous votes for Murkowski.

1,629 – or 8.48 percent - of the write-in ballots were sorted as votes for Murkowski, but are being challenged, by the Miller campaign.

276 ballots have been sorted as not being counted for Murkowski, but that determination is being challenged.

Are any of the write-in ballots being sorted as a vote for Miller?

Yes – two of them, or 0.01 percent.

That's not entirely startling, since Miller's name was on the ballot as Alaska's GOP Senate nominee in the midterm election. His supporters didn't need to write in his name. Because Murkowski was running as a write-in candidate, her supporters were required to fill in an oval on the ballot and write out her name.

However, the numbers paint a stark picture of how high a hurdle Miller must cross in order to win the race. In the current, official vote result, he trails the number of write-in ballots by just over 11,000.

In one hypothetical 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.

Miller hopes its lawsuit, filed in federal court, will help it make up ground. The suit seeks to invalidate the counting of ballots where Murkowski's name is misspelled or doesn't exactly match what's on her official document declaring her write-in candidacy.

The Miller campaign had filed an injunction to stop the counting of those ballots. But a federal judge denied that request on Wednesday. The court will hear from all sides next week, however, keeping alive Miller's hopes of throwing out many challenged ballots.

Until a decision is made on that matter, Miller's campaign is crunching numbers to see how it can possibly win.

"Traditionally, you usually lose about…seven or eight percent when either as invalid or for a different candidate," Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto told CNN.

"If the numbers were somewhere up there, seven, eight, maybe even 10 percent, you know, that would put us right in the ballpark."

Filed under: 2010 • Alaska • Joe Miller • Lisa Murkowski
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Son of CSM.Wiggins

    Joe stop trying to steal the election the people have spoken and rejected you and Sara . Lmao Have A nice day

    November 11, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Give it up Joe. You and Silly Sarah should go hibernate.

    November 11, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Looking at semi-closed cursive letter U's as A's. Looking at semi-scribbled W's as M's (and vice versa). Not dotting the I's. Printed S looking like Z. Yeah, Joe's grasping at straws on this one. The last hurrah for Sarah the Quitter!

    November 11, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. stufthis

    Man up, Bagger Joe, and bow out gracefully.

    November 11, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. steven harnack

    First job as a potential voice of the people, silence as many of those people as you can.

    November 11, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. GoC

    What an idiot, it is clear Alaska does not want you Miller! What an example of a sore loser.

    November 11, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. stufthis

    Sharia Sharron Angle may be more of a man than Joe Miller.

    November 11, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. sammieb51

    Miller is playing from the Bush election handbook - and injunction to stop the counting!! Thankfully the federal court denied this plea. Miller should save his money until the next election, he lost, get over it, move on.

    November 11, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. DJ in TX

    Seeking to throw out mispelled names – wow, he really wants to win. So he would discount a citizen's vote over a spelling of a name. I can understand if there is no clear intent or a gross mispelling, etc, but if a letter missing (Murkowski is not the easiest name to spell), I think people can tell the intent. That shows desparation on Miller's part. He knows if he loses, what a blow that would be to Ms. Palin in her own state. She called it "shameful" of Ms. Murkowski. The people have spoken, no only the people in the primary had spoken and it was very, very close then (about 1600 votes difference). But you are right, the people of Alaska (the whole state) have spoken, it appears they'd prefer Murkowski.............

    November 11, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. T'sah from Virginia

    How many times are you going to post this???? CNN, can't you wait until it is all over? Murkowski will WIN and Sarah Palin will go down as the WORST governor of AK and the WORST endorser in AK and the WORST QUITTER of all times in AK!!!!

    T'sah is OUT of Campaign MODE – N2 Moving America Forward with our Leader – President Obama!!

    November 11, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Mojon Bush

    You know things are bad when I am rooting for a republican. . .

    bye,bye Miller.

    November 11, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. kari

    Thank you Alaska

    November 11, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. Mike

    I never understood how he could be so optimistic about disenfranchising every vote that was not cast for him. It's almost as if he assumes that since these people who apparently did not spell her name 100% correctly, even though there is legal precedent for voter intent, then their vote isn't worth the paper it's written on since it is not his name spelled incorrectly.

    I'm pretty sure if he was on the other side of this issue that he would be calling Murkowski a disingenuous politician attempting to disenfranchise legitimate voters via totalitarian technicalities. This is what's wrong with America, it's win at any cost, even if you didn't really win. Bush 2000 all over again.

    November 11, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Liberal Elite= Anyone with an education

    Good old Joe. He wants "his" seat in the Senate, and he's not afraid to disenfranchise us Alaskan voters to get it. What a guy.

    November 11, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Peter s

    And now ladie and gentle men embrace the great Senator of Alaska Lisa!!. You did great lisa! you shoved it to the half term governor beauty queen of wasilla! Thanks Lisa you were born a winner

    November 11, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Paul LONG BEACH CA

    I am a die hard liberal, but I HOPE Lisa wins just so Miller can stop his belly aching. He will not believe that the GOP endorsed a loser, and that the write in candidate whooped his booty.

    Sarah PAC (Politically Abhorrent Committee) should perish!!!

    November 11, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Brett

    Disqualifying a vote for a casual misspelling when the intention is clear who the voter meant is nothing but voter disenfranchisement and fraud.

    November 11, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. SayWhat

    "The suit seeks to invalidate the counting of ballots where Murkowski's name is misspelled or doesn't exactly match what's on her official document declaring her write-in candidacy."

    Yeah, this is a case for the Federal courts. There is little doubt that a mispeliing of Murkowsi's name was an intended vote for Miller. Say goodbye, Joe, and try to move on gracefully.

    November 11, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. No Tea For Me

    So tea party Miller wants government out of his life but he runs whining to the Federal Court System. He will lose and the people of Alaska are telling Palin what they think of her.

    November 11, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Former Republican - Now Independent

    OK, so except for their "plumbing," what the difference between Murkowski and Miller? One being Republican and the other being Tea Party is no difference ... so why should "we" care?

    November 11, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. Rani McBride

    This just goes to show you Miller is not a fair minded, honest person, and I would not want him as my Senator!

    November 11, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. bonnieb

    Wait a minute...isn't Miller the 'Tea Party' candidate? I thought the Tea Party was founded on the will of the people. I understood additional write-in candidates were added at the last minute who had names similar in spelling to Murkowski in hopes of confusing the voters or disqualifying their misspelled votes. How is this upholding the will of the people? I am all for supporting the will of the people, that includes me, but this seems to say, "I will respect your wishes as long as your wishes are what I want". In fact, that seems to be exactly what this ultra-conservative movement is all about. "We want our country back"...who do you think has it? Fellow citizens who are relieved to finally see intelligent people in office. Too often these Tea Party 'grassroots' candidates are proving to be just loud, obnoxious, and uneducated. So, I guess I will stick with knowledgeable, thinking individuals to represent me!

    November 11, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Darrell

    I'm sorry, but whether Murkowski's name is spelled correctly or not, the intent of the voter is 100% clear! I hate when someone has to pull legal tricks to win an election.

    November 11, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |