The Miller Campaign Expects the Division of Elections to Adhere to Alaska Statutory Law
Anchorage, Alaska. November 7, 2010 — Joe Miller, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, wants to ensure the law, as it is written, will be the standard used during the vote count and not a new interpretation. In a letter to Gail Fenumiai, Director of the Alaska Division of Elections, Thomas Van Flein, general counsel to the Miller campaign, outlined a series of concerns about the ballot count and its proposed location in Juneau.
The campaign wants the state to follow statutory law during the review process. Alaska Statute 15.15.360 (11) requires that “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.
Prior to the general election, Ms. Fenumiai had also indicated that write in votes would be counted on Nov 18, fifteen days after the general election. However, the day after the election, a decision was made to suddenly start counting ballots on Nov 10, ten days prior to the original date. Given the geographical and financial challenges of getting observer teams assembled in Juneau, the earlier date makes it extremely difficult to honor the process, set out by law. The Miller campaign is concerned with ensuring a fair and accurate counting of the ballots. Anywhere from forty to sixty observers must be trained, and arrangements made to move team members to Juneau.
The Miller campaign is pleased that the Division of Elections has reversed an earlier decision by Lieutenant Governor Craig Campbell and his pronouncement that the state would not to count write-in votes for Joe Miller. State law clearly indicates that a properly filled in write-in ballot is valid even if the write-in name is on the ballot. Randy DeSoto, spokesman for the Miller campaign, said “Our only goal is a fair and accurate counting of the ballots. Alaskans deserve to have a process they can be confident in without room for subjective interpretation. Much of Lisa Murkowski’s campaign–including ads, signs, and handout materials–was aimed at making sure people fulfilled the legal requirement so their vote would count.”