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Speling Countz

Well, the recount in Alaska for the Senate seat currently held by Lisa Murkowski (kinda-Republican) is going on, and there's a bit of a fight about how lenient to be about how the voters spell her name. Murkowski's supporters say that if it's obvious that the voter intended to vote for her, misspelled variants of her name should be counted. Supporters of Joe Miller (the official Republican nominee, who clobbered Murkowski in the GOP primary) say that if it doesn't say "Lisa Murkowski" spelled precisely, then toss it.

Nitpicking, fussy, and downright anal. But legally solid.

Some time ago, Alaska formalized its rules for write-in candidates. Just having your name written on the ballots isn't enough in the Last Frontier; the candidate has to file with the state, and the name on the ballot has to match the name written in precisely. If I were to run as a write-in in Alaska under my nom de blog, votes for "Jay Tee" or "JayTea" would not count.

That's the law. And under the Constitution, the states have the rights to set the rules for their own elections. The federal government can intervene if the way they run their elections violates the Constitution (such as depriving women of the right to vote, or disallowing people from being on the ballot based on race, or some such), but otherwise what the state says goes.

Murkowski knew what the law said. It's obvious that she took that into account during her campaign for re-election. Several of her ads emphasized how to properly spell her name. She gave out bracelets and other knickknacks with her name spelled out on them. And, in an utterly unprecedented move, she got a judge (appointed by her late father) to order the state to hand out lists of write-in candidates at the polls, spelled properly and everything.

But some people just can't spell properly. Or they have messy handwriting. (Guilty on that one -- my standard line is "I almost made it into med school on a handwriting scholarship.") Shouldn't their votes be counted? Aren't they being disenfranchised?

In a word, no. They chose to disenfranchise themselves.

Voting is a very important and very serious thing. And you have to take that seriously.

There's a common bumper sticker I've seen many a time. "STUPID PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BREED." Likewise, stupid people shouldn't vote.

No, I'm not saying "stupid people shouldn't be allowed to vote. I'm saying that people who don't know or care enough about what they're voting for, then they should exercise a certain amount of self-restraint and not vote.

When I was in college, I was part of student government. On a few occasions, I chastised my peers for abstaining from voting on a matter because they didn't understand it. I told them that it was their job to understand and vote, or they were ripping off the people who'd elected them.

And yeah, a couple of times I did just that. In my defense, I was ashamed of those times, and still am.

But that's an elected representative, someone who's chosen to seek that office. There's no such burden on a voter. There's no shame (well, damned little) in admitting that you don't know enough about a candidate or an issue, and stay silent. I've done that, too -- some elections, I leave certain races blank because I simply don't know enough (OK, anything) about the candidates.

In Alaska, the state has chosen to regulate how to deal with write-in candidates. In this case, the state has practically bent over backwards to assist those candidates and those voters who wish to vote for them.

If a Murkowski supporter can't be bothered to memorize how to spell her name before going to the polls, write it down on a piece of paper, clip it out of an article or an ad using her name, or even copy it, letter for letter, off the piece of paper they were given with their ballot, then screw them. They don't care enough about their vote to get it right, then it shouldn't count.

Perhaps the Alaskan law goes too far. Perhaps it needs to be amended to allow for misspellings, and open up the whole can of worms of deciphering the intent of an anonymous voter from the cryptic scribbles they chose to invest the full power of their ballot into.

I don't think so, but my opinion's irrelevant. I'm not an Alaskan. I'm a couple of thousand miles from Alaska. (But I share a climate that's a hell of a lot closer to Alaska's than most other states, for what that's worth.) And thanks to the Constitution (Article I, Section 4 -- "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators."), it's their elections and their rules. Congress has NEVER even come close to exercising their theoretical right to micromanage elections to this degree, and should not.

It's worth noting that Senator Murkowski didn't think of questioning this law until she realized that for once, Daddy's name was going to be a hindrance instead of a benefit.

I happen to dislike Senator Murkowski, and hope she loses this race. (That doesn't look real likely at this point, but hope springs eternal.) But setting my prejudice aside, my policy is to side with the law: it says the ballot has to have her name spelled right, or the vote goes into the trash. And that is the principle that should prevail in this case.


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Comments (52)

But..but..but...we live in ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

But..but..but...we live in a 'relative' age! As for 'the rules'. That only applies when your candidate is winning.

Locally, we had an election for city council. IIRC, there was only one female candidate - as a write in. And one voter put down "that surfer dude girl". The vote was not counted.

Election day, after voting,... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Election day, after voting, I went to work and wore my "I Voted" sticker. During lunch I was in the cafeteria and one girl noticed my sticker and said she was still debating whether to vote or not. I asked why. She said she didn't know anything about any of the candidates. I said she really should know at least something about who she's voting for. By the time lunch was over she said she was going to vote after work and would just close her eyes and point to spots on the ballot and vote for who her finger landed on and then giggled about it. I was pretty disgusted and told her in as polite of terms as I could that she was being irresponsible and to do that was unfair to all those who took the time to educate themselves before casting their ballots. She just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Oh well."

Others at the table remained silent. One even gave me a dirty look. I just shrugged my shoulders at him and silently mouthed, "Oh well."

How hard is it to write rin... (Below threshold)
914:

How hard is it to write rino? Seriously, if the name starts with an M and is spelled incorrectly either split for Murk/Miller or throw them out.

Start changing the rules of the game and all you look like is a cheap conniving bitter pompous ass like Al Gore for example.

Actually, I think you shoul... (Below threshold)

Actually, I think you should change your name Jay Z. Hip-hop it up a bit.

(just kidding)

Here are the Alaska Statutes - Section 15.15.360.: Rules for counting ballots. This includes write-ins.

There is nothing in it about exact spelling.

In short, this is a law tailor made for wiggle room.

In most states, major party... (Below threshold)
Stan:

In most states, major party candidates are precluded from running as an independent or a write in candidate, if they were defeated in a primary election. I know that is the law here in Wyoming. I think that same law is valid in Alaska too. If this is fact true, Murkowski is breaking the law, by running as a write in candidate. But, as Jay said, the Murkowski name is God in Alaska political circles. Especially among the old guard ones. Another thing here is that Murkowski, is doing this to slap Sarah Palin in the face for having the audacity to take on the liberal Republican machine in Alaska.

There is nothing in it a... (Below threshold)
galoob:

There is nothing in it about exact spelling.

JT, punked again.

Nice spinning to support a welfare dependent nutball and failed government employee who has his own Liebstandarte Josef Müller arresting journalists and marching around with M-4 assault rifles.

It's not surprising that Herr Müller would like to ignore the will of the voters who wrote in Murkowsky.


It's a real shame the way w... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

It's a real shame the way we, in America, have decided the rule of law is no longer important. I want to blame Bill Clinton but can't really point a direct line to him.

Regardless, this isn't a new law that suddenly popped up a few weeks before the election. If the law is so lousy, why is it there to begin with?

My suggestion. Change the damn law!

Unfortunately, that's too late for Murkowski, the law doesn't apply in the past.

But it's a real shame they are talking about not obeying the law just because, in hindsight, people think it's not fair.

Follow the law.

"STUPID PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BR... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

"STUPID PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BREED."

They shouldn't post blog comments either... (looks at galoob)

loco, thanks for the link. ... (Below threshold)

loco, thanks for the link. Here's the relevant portion (emphasis added):

(11) A vote for a write-in candidate, other than a write-in vote for governor and lieutenant governor, 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.

To me, that's another way of saying "spelled correctly." It's the most sensible, logical, and plausible conclusion.

Others have extended this absurdly, saying that it has to match in font and type size, but that's absurd. I can't see any other way to interpret it other than spelling.

Conversely, if the situation was reversed, I'd be arguing that "Joe Miller" and "Joseph Miller" would NOT both count -- only the one that Miller filed.

If anyone can come up with an interpretation of that section of the law that doesn't mean "spelled correctly," I'm open to listening.

J.

Fercrissakes, galoob, why d... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Fercrissakes, galoob, why do you even bother? Quit being such a petty, sniping assole for once or we'd be perfectly happy to simply infer your petty, sniping asshole-ish response by its conspicuous absense. It would even be preferable that someone here channel you with a parody of your normal responses in your absense. How does it feel to be thought of as a ridiculous caricature of a human? Because that's exactly what you've fostered here.

I looked up the Anchorage D... (Below threshold)
galoob:

I looked up the Anchorage Daily News website to see how the recount is going. Looks like it's going pretty well for Murkowsky or whatever her name is. So you're all backing a loser - in more ways than one.

This guy Miller really is a piece of work though. To him, it doesn't make any difference if Lisa's name is spelled correctly or not:

Examples were not hard to find of Miller observers challenging Murkowski ballots that were spelled accurately and looked to be filled out properly. More often, the challenged ballots had a letter misspelled in Murkowski's last name or the word "Republican" written on the ballot next to it.

http://www.adn.com/2010/11/11/1550305/murkowski-confident-as-tally-grows.html#ixzz155NUxAqJ

One federal judge had to take himself off of the case because he had a "negative opinion" of Miller. With good reason:

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick said Miller left the court system in a lurch in 2004 when he called Sedwick at 4:20 p.m. to tell him he was quitting that day as a part-time federal magistrate judge in Fairbanks.

"The process for filling a part-time magistrate judge position is lengthy, a fact well known to Mr. Miller because he had gone through that process," Sedwick wrote in an order from his chambers. "Mr. Miller's failure to give reasonable notice of his resignation left the court with no judicial officer resident in Fairbanks, and no ability to fill the vacancy for many months. This incident caused me to form a negative opinion of Mr. Miller."

Damn, Miller really knows how to take care of himself and his family. This takes chutzpah:

Sedwick likely played a crucial role in Miller being directed to fire his wife as his part-time federal court clerk in December 2002.

Miller became the part-time federal magistrate judge in Fairbanks on June 21, 2002. He immediately hired his wife, Kathleen, as his clerk.

A judiciary handbook that would have been provided to Miller referenced the federal anti-nepotism statute that had been part of the United States Code since 1967, according to a court spokesman. Judges are covered by that statute and are forbidden from hiring their spouses, among other relatives.

http://www.adn.com/2010/11/10/1547601/judge-with-negative-opinion-of.html#ixzz155P1h6dO


If Miller is dumb/lame/weak... (Below threshold)
oldpuppymax:

If Miller is dumb/lame/weak enough to lose to a friggin' WRITE IN candidate, he has no business in the US senate.

"as it appears on the write... (Below threshold)
914:

"as it appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy"


Case closed.

Hey galoob' you're missing barney & friends!!

Last I heard, this whole di... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Last I heard, this whole discussion has been rendered moot by the fact that Murkowski is getting enough correctly spelled votes to win.

Has that changed the last 24 hours?

The law is not a moot point... (Below threshold)
914:

The law is not a moot point Rance.

Jay Tea,Thanks for... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,

Thanks for the clarification.

It seems you have a good point but, more than likely, the parasites - er, I mean lawyers - will hammer this 'voter intent' crap to get the outcome they desire.

Miller is toast, sorry.... (Below threshold)
Jim Crane:

Miller is toast, sorry.

Time to fly in Frankenfool ... (Below threshold)
914:

Time to fly in Frankenfool and Albert Gordough to divine "true voter intent"

Hey, someone tell galoob th... (Below threshold)

Hey, someone tell galoob that the election's over, and all the ballots have been cast (we ain't talking Chicago here) -- all that's left is the counting. (And recounting...) Talking about the character of the candidates is utterly pointless at this time.

But then, being "utterly pointless" has never slowed galoob down before...

J.

Talking about the charac... (Below threshold)
galoob:

Talking about the character of the candidates is utterly pointless at this time.

Of course you have no faith, JT.

We can all pray to God / the Great Spirit / Atman / Allah that this charlatan Miller, who was bamboozling Tea Partiers against waste, fraud and abuse even though he was a lying government trough-feeder himself, is defeated Deo gratia. Miller's karma is doing him in as the write-ins are reviewed. Sow, reap, etc.

I'm amused you're going to bat for a guy who blatantly hired his wife in violation of the most basic laws against chicanery. That seems to go against whatever good things the Tea Party stands for.

Shortly after the second... (Below threshold)
john:

Shortly after the second day of write-in ballot counting began, a Miller observer challenged a vote for Murkowski that appeared to have her name spelled and printed correctly, though the "L" in "Lisa" was in cursive handwriting.

At another table later, at least 10 ballots in which Murkowski's name appeared readable were challenged, including one in which the vote read: "Lisa Murkowski Republican."

Yeah, that Miller sounds like a real stand-up guy. I'm sure Jay would have written the exact same post if it were a Democrat pulling that shit.

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/murkowski-camp-cries-foul-write-ballot-c

And galoob, I'm amused at y... (Below threshold)

And galoob, I'm amused at your astonishing resistance to reality. I didn't say anything about the merits of the candidates apart from disliking Murkowski; all I talked about was the relevant law. You're the one who wants to keep arguing the campaign -- apparently purely because you've found some way to express your "argument clinic" style of commenting.

It's most tiresome. Got anything to say about the actual law in question, or should I just indulge my irritation and ban you?

J.

As embarrassing as it is fo... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

As embarrassing as it is for Miller to have lost to a write-in candidate, imagine how utterly stupid you'd feel if you had donated time, effort and money to Miller's farce of a campaign or to his absurd lawsuit.

I think the law as written ... (Below threshold)
Grace:

I think the law as written should always be followed - I hate getting a speeding ticket, but those are the consequences of breaking a law whether I agree with it or not.

Thank you Jay Tea for using the phrase "They chose to disenfranchise themselves". As good teachers say: "I didn't fail you, you failed yourself because you - (fill in the blank)."

P.S.
I no longer even bother to vote thumbs down on galoobs posts as even that is a waste of time, let alone responding to his drivel.

So, here we have the galoob... (Below threshold)
Drago:

So, here we have the galoob-ian descriptions of Joe Miller in just this thread alone:

galoob: "...a welfare dependent nutball.."

galoob: "...failed government employee.."

galoob: "....Josef Müller...."

galoob: "....Herr Müller...."

galoob: "..charlatan Miller..."

Well, here's a few things galoob left out:
Joe Miller (middle class kid who grew up in Kansas):
- West Point Graduate (with Honors)
- Bronze Star awardee
- Yale Law School graduate
- Economics Masters Degree- Univ of Alaska
- Appointed as a State Magistrate (at age 30)
- Superior Court Master for the 4th Judicial District
- Acting State District Court Judge
- US Magistrate Judge

Yep, a real fly-by-night kind of a guy. Now if only he had been a community agitator, sued banks who refused to give loans to people who couldn't afford to pay them back, then, and only then, would the galoobs of the world remove their mouths from the backsides of the Hugo Chavez' of the world to sing Millers praises.

"STUPID PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BR... (Below threshold)
Bob:

"STUPID PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BREED." Likewise, stupid people shouldn't vote.

Sorry, Jay. As we know all too well, stupid people get to breed just like smart people. They often get government benefits for their children - presumably paid for by the not-as-stupid taxpayers or by the Chinese who are increasingly funding our government.

We also have Constitutional protections for the right to vote even for stupid people. Literacy tests, which were often used for purposes of racial discrimination, were banned many years ago. Nursing home patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are also allowed to vote and often get help in doing so.

In order to preserve voters' rights, the Alaska Supreme Court, as I understand it, has ruled that a ballot is not a spelling test and that a write-in vote must be counted if the voter's intent is clear. As much as I'd like to see Miller win this race over Murkowski, the principle of counting all the votes is a sound one.

galoob: "I'm amused you're ... (Below threshold)
Drago:

galoob: "I'm amused you're going to bat for a guy who blatantly hired his wife in violation of the most basic laws against chicanery."

Funny.

I'm still waiting to hear a reasonable "innocent" explanation of how obambi's wife gets hired into a make-believe job for a hospital in chicago (to sweet sweet tune of $300,000+ per year) right after obambi gets elected to the Senate, and then, coincidently, (strictly coincidently) that very hospital becomes the happy recipient of millions in government largesse.

Yes indeed. What a happy "coincidence"!

Of course, obambi's li'l supporters like galoob argue that michelle's role was so very important and absolutely HAD to be filled, and she was just the best candidate for the job.

Of course, right after michelle left to go to DC (for even bigger doin's) a funny thing happened to this "critical role" at this hospital.

It went away.

Away.

Away.

And hasn't returned.....

Where were we?.......Oh yes. Now I remember... something about "chicanery".

Yes galoob. Please do go on about "chicanery".

Got anything to say abou... (Below threshold)
galoob:

Got anything to say about the actual law in question,

The law is subject to interpretation in the light of constitutional rights. Constitutional principles hold that the intent of a voter must be ascertained to avoid disenfranchisement. This will be up to the Alaska Supreme Court and perhaps the Federal Court. Arguing a legal issue without case citations seems futile. Just because you think it means exact spelling is required does not overrule the scores of cases nationwide that apply a "voter intent" rule.

I think the vote of the old Eskimo lady who voted for Murkowsky should be counted as an issue of fundamental democracy.

Here is one informed article:

As to what approach the Alaska Supreme Court will take, its past rulings give some indication of what to expect.

The Supreme Court has made it clear in a series of decisions across the decades that its approach to ballot disputes is to try and determine voter intent in all instances.

The court decision last week on the abundance of phony write-in candidates who signed up just before the election, said, "The decision we reach today is informed by our previous cases regarding the importance of facilitating voter intent."

The court said it has been consistent in this approach because the right to cast a vote is fundamental.

The decision quoted a 1978 ruling in which the court found, "In the absence of fraud, election statutes will be liberally construed to guarantee to the elector an opportunity to freely cast his ballot, to prevent his disenfranchisement and to uphold the will of the electorate."

It also cited a 1995 decision that "a true democracy must seek to make each citizen's vote as meaningful as every other vote to ensure the equality of all people under the law."

In 2007, the court said that in a state House election in which the vote was 765-764, that three votes in which voters had marks next to both candidates should not be counted. But the court found the marks on the three ballots were such that the voters had clearly chosen one candidate, the other mark was not consequential and the votes should be counted.

State law says that for a write-in vote to count, the oval has to be filled in.

But this might be challenged in cases where people wrote in Murkowski's name and did not fill in the oval. The lawyers for Murkowski, if necessary, will argue that a voter who writes in a name on a ballot is displaying clear intent and that filling in the oval shouldn't be mandatory.

As the court found in 1979, "the crucial question in determining the validity of ballot markings is one of voter intent."

http://newsminer.com/bookmark/10144171-%E2%80%98Voter-intent%E2%80%99-will-be-crucial-question-in-write-in-tally-that-awaits

or should I just indulge my irritation and ban you?

Weren't you complaining about Charles Johnson doing that sort of thing yesterday?

It's your blog, you can do as you please. I know authoritarian personalities can't tolerate dissent.

galoob: "I know authoritari... (Below threshold)
Drago:

galoob: "I know authoritarian personalities can't tolerate dissent."

Which encapsulates perfectly the dems response to the teaparty movement.

Perfectly.

Just because Democrats will... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Just because Democrats will outright cheat given the slightest opportunity is not a license for us.

Where the intent of the voter is clear, and the ballot bubble marked, a simple misspelling should not void the ballot. The voter filled out the ballot.

Miller was a weak candidate, just like Paul (luckily his handlers stuffed a sock in his mouth early, we'll get to see what a nut he is in the Senate), O'Donnell, Maes, Buck, and Angle. If he had only tried to reach out in unity after the primary, he might have derailed or disarmed the write-in campaign.

As an American, I don't want to win elections by throwing out votes unnecessarily, nor to be associated with those who do.

~~~~~~

galoob ~ the "journalist" in question was just a lefty blogger who was harassing the candidate. My security people would have shot the SOB. He should feel lucky.

Jim A, Drago,I thi... (Below threshold)
galoob:

Jim A, Drago,

I think most Americans are in agreement that minor misspellings or defects in ballots should not be used to nullify a voter's clear intent. That's fundamental fairness and democracy a/k/a rule of the people (even if they aren't perfect spellers). This is to protect people with poor vision, poor handwriting caused by arthritis, etc.

As for discussing Miller's shortcomings, or Michelle Obama's job with a hospital, perhaps we should ask permission from JT as to whether these are acceptable deviations from a strict construction of this legal topic.

I understand that some people think that a citizen, even a lowly blogger, asking undesirable questions is "harassing the candidate," and worthy of physical assault and arrest by private goons, but I thought most of those people were in Cuba, North Korea, Russia or Iran.

I also don't get a guy railing about government spending and waste and spending practically his whole working life in government jobs and putting his wife on the payroll as soon as he could. Obama never ran against government spending, Miller did. Obama also didn't appoint his wife directly to a job, as Miller did.

On some TV program this mor... (Below threshold)
OldflyerG8r:

On some TV program this morning they apparently read some of the "write ins". I challenge anyone to determine whether the person writing some of those examples was serious, or was simply jerking the system's chain. That is part of the problem with relativism--the human mind is just not that transparent. Not to mention often completely void of logic. Anyone who claims they can decipher intent on a consistent basis is selling snake oil.

galoob, the point of my thr... (Below threshold)

galoob, the point of my threatening a smackdown on you is that your comments are utterly irrelevant. It will not change a single vote; they've all been cast. All you're doing is laying the smear groundwork to attack Miller should he win -- and hijacking the thread in the process.

Not on my article.

As far as the misspelling issue... I agree with it in principle, but in this case Alaska seems to have addressed it. They require write-in candidates to register, spell out in the law that the name on the ballot has to match the name they register under precisely, and in this case even gave the voters slips of paper with the write-in candidates' names as they appear on the registration form.

Maybe it's the spelling nazi in me (quick re-scan for any typos on this comment), but as far as I'm concerned THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR MISSPELLING MURKOWSKI'S NAME IN THIS CASE.

The law was clear, Murkowski even tacitly admitted such by emphasizing the whole spelling lesson thing.

Either the law means what it says, it means whatever the powers that be says it means. And if the law is bad, challenge it -- preferably before it starts interfering with what you want.

J.

"I didn't say anything abou... (Below threshold)
fixer:

"I didn't say anything about the merits of the candidates apart from disliking Murkowski."


"I happen to dislike Senator Murkowski, and hope she loses this race."

By hoping she loses, you are, by default, supporting Joe Miller.

...and that means exactly w... (Below threshold)

...and that means exactly what in this context, fixed?

J.

...and that means exactl... (Below threshold)
galoob:

...and that means exactly what in this context, fixed?

J.

It means you're obviously spinning in behalf of Miller, so he can whine when "Murkowsky" wins - We wuz robbed!

The law is pretty clear - see the quote below from one of the Alaska cases. The fact that many Alaskan speak a native language other than English dooms Miller's and JT's vote-robbing interpretation of the law.

"Voter intent" is what Alaska law follows.

Miller's only hope is that the remaining write-ins are for Mickey Mouse, Bristol Palin, Mike Wooten, Jon Stewart, Glen Beck, Ted Stevens or Justin Bieber, and not Murkowsky, Morecowski, Murkyski, McKowalski, or Lisa M.


The Alaska Supreme Court on voter intent:

The decision we reach today is informed by our previous cases regarding the importance of facilitating voter intent. "[W]e have consistently emphasized the importance of voter intent" because the "opportunity to freely cast [one's] ballot" is fundamental.4 "The right to vote encompasses the right to express one's opinion and is a way to declare one's full membership in the political community... a true democracy must seek to make each citizen's vote as meaningful as every other vote to ensure the equality of all people under the law."5 . . . . Some voters require assistance for medical difficulties or conditions that make spelling or memory recall difficult. Some voters suffer from learning disabilities that interfere with word retrieval, such as aphasia and dyslexia.9 Further, some voters may need assistance remembering or spelling the name of a candidate due to conditions impacting their memory or comprehension, including stroke victims who may have word retrieval problems. Other qualified voters may need assistance spelling the name of a candidate for a variety of reasons, including language barriers. l0

4 Edgmon v. State, Div. of Elections, 152 P.3d 1154, 1157 (Alaska 2007);see also Sonneman v. State, 969 P.2d 632, 636-37 (Alaska 1998) ("[T]he right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner is preservative of other basic civil rights, any alleged infringement of the right of the citizens to vote must be carefully and meticulously scrutinized."); Carr v. Thomas, 586 P.2d 622,626 (Alaska 1978) ("In the absence of fraud, election statutes will be liberally construed to guarantee to the elector an opportunity to freely cast his ballot, to prevent his disenfranchisement, and to uphold the will of the electorate.").

5 Dansereau v. Ulmer, 903 P.2d 555, 559 (Alaska 1995).

9 Aphasia is defined as a defect or loss of the power of expression by speech,
writing, or signs, or of comprehending spoken or written language, due to injury or
disease of the brain. DORLAND'S ILLUSTRATED MEDICAL DICTIONARY 105 (28th ed.1994). Dyslexia is defined as the inability to read, spell, and write words, despite the ability to see and recognize letters. Id at 516.

10 There are twenty different Native Alaskan languages still spoken in Alaska:
Aleut, Alutiiq, Ifiupiaq, Central Yup'ik, Siberian Yup'ik, Tsimshian, Haida, Tlingit,
Eyak, Ahtna, Dena' ina, Deg Hit' an, Holikachuk, Upper Kuskokwim, Koyukon, Tanana,
Tanacross, Upper Tanana, Gwich'in and Han. U.S. Census Bureau, Table 4. Languages
Spoken at Home and Ability to Speak English for the Population 5 Years and Over by
State (2000) (available athttp://www.census.gov/populationicen2000/phc-t20/tab04.pdf).
In addition, the 2000 Census reports that 82,758 Alaskans "speak a language other than
English at home," and of those 30,842 "do not speak English very well."

http://www.courts.alaska.gov/ops/sp-ord-s14054a.pdf


Galoob prefers when a polit... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Galoob prefers when a politician's lover runs a prostitution ring from home, rather than plain vanilla nepotism...

Well, then, galoob, they ca... (Below threshold)

Well, then, galoob, they can MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR ASSISTANCE or ASK FOR HELP to get it right. Both are absolutely acceptable, and readily available.

And perhaps that should have been brought up when the original law regarding write-in candidates was being considered.

Bringing it up now just makes you and them look like whiny little gits.

J.

"-in vote must be counte... (Below threshold)
Jaun Williams/ 914:

"-in vote must be counted if the voter's intent is clear. As much as I'd like to see Miller win this race over Murkowski, the principle of counting all the votes is a sound one."


Divining intent is a tricky proposition. One may favor a side and err in their favor. Better to have clear concise rules to follow and stick to and follow thru regardless of the winner then to change rules mid-stream and prejudice the whole electoral process.

Bringing it up now just ... (Below threshold)
galoob:

Bringing it up now just makes you and them look like whiny little gits.

Who's whining? I didn't write this post. Lisa "Murkowsky" is winning!
You wrote this post - you and Miller are whining because he's losing.

You bring up assistance and asking for help. Miller tried to make it more difficult to provide help by having his stooges declare themselves as write in candidates, so the voter information sheet was loaded with hundreds of names.

Miller supporters flood Alaska Senate race write-in list

By BECKY BOHRER , Associated Press

Last update: October 29, 2010 - 8:23 PM
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The number of write-in candidates for Alaska's U.S. Senate seat has swelled to about 160 amid an effort by conservatives to target the write-in candidacy of GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and it could still grow as officials process filers' paperwork.

The number by Thursday's write-in deadline had grown from just a handful earlier this week.

http://www.startribune.com/politics/recount/106314613.html?elr=KArks8c7PaP3iUGD3cO:aUiacyKUzyaP37D_MDua_eyD5PcOiUr

Then when that didn't work, he tried to keep any information about write in candidates altogether.

Miller supporters file federal lawsuit over write-in list

by Christine Kim and The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska --
A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of five Alaska voters over the state's provision of write-in candidate lists to voters. The voters' attorney, Kevin Clarkson, says the lawsuit was filed electronically Saturday.

The suit claims the state Division of Elections should not be able to provide voters with a list of write-in candidates at polling precincts, which the Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday could be done in limited cases to help voters.

http://www.ktuu.com/news/ktuu-2010elect-federal-write-in-list-lawsuit-103010,0,4047290.story

Now Miller is suing for "voter fraud," too:

Miller campaign plans to sue state over alleged voter fraud

by Jason Lamb
11:47 p.m. AKST, November 11, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska --
At a Thursday press conference, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller's campaign announced that it's received reports of voter intimidation and fraud -- and plans to sue the state in order to investigate.

In addition, the campaign says it's setting up a hotline to report voter fraud, adding that it's already received some allegations.

http://www.ktuu.com/news/ktuu-2010elect-miller-voter-fraud-state-lawsuit-111110,0,6134122.story

Yeahhhh, that's it, voter fraud. Talk about whining.

The guy Miller really is a whiny POS. What's next, a lawsuit claiming gender discrimination?
Trying to win by filing lawsuits, isn't that a typical "liberal" tactic?

(11) A vote fo... (Below threshold)
Stan2:
(11) A vote for a write-in candidate, other than a write-in vote for governor and lieutenant governor, 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.

To me, that's another way of saying "spelled correctly." It's the most sensible, logical, and plausible conclusion.

The words "spelled correctly" don't appear anywhere in the law.

Your conclusion is nothing more than Teabag wishful thinking. Luckily you were called on it. Nowhere in your article did you quote the law or link to it - you just declared that it supported your position regarding spelling and now we can clearly see that it doesn't do anything of the sort. You're full of it.

I have not read the comment... (Below threshold)
Madalyn:

I have not read the comments, so I don't know if this was touched on yet. Ms. Murkowski stated that because her name had to be spelled correctly in order to count, she was handing out bracelets with her name on it so everyone who voted for her would be able to spell it correctly. Why now is she claiming it doesn't have to be spelled correctly in order for the votes to be counted in her favor? Sounds like a little sour grapes to me.

Fine, Stan. Then please int... (Below threshold)

Fine, Stan. Then please interpret the following language: ...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.

Give an alternate, plausible explanation besides "spelled properly."

I double-dog dare ya.

J.

Obtuse, anyone?Fir... (Below threshold)
galoob:

Obtuse, anyone?

First there is a disjunctive "or" in the statute.

Maybe three ways of breaking it down:

thus "the name,

(1) as it appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy, (note the comma)

(2) of the candidate or

(3) the last name of the candidate

is written in the space provided."

It does not say spelled exactly, in the same font, type size or whatever other crazy nitpicking bullshit Miller is now trying to say.

It's a rule of statutory construction that requirements which affect constitutional rights must be clearly stated in the statute.

Thus the Alaska Supreme Court says "voter intent" is paramount. They will continue to say that, and this votes for Morkowsky will be allowed to count for Lisa.

You lose, JT. Thank God the will of the voters to keep this government-teat-feeding hypocrite a-hole Miller out of office will be followed.

galoob... is your native to... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

galoob... is your native tongue the English language?
The OR in the clause is to indicate that the last name alone is sufficient to count for their intent.
If the name appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy as David R Snellinboom, then a voter may write either David R Snellingboom or merely Snellingboom. As a result David S., Smellybum or some other variation or bastardization will not be counted as votes for Snellingboom.
I have not read all of the Alaskan laws and regulations for elections, and I suspect (and would bet) neither have you. What their fall back position is here, I cannot be sure. The lengths that Murkowski went to to make sure people knew how to spell her name right tells me she and her lawyers were concerned about just this scenario. Personally, the entire law seems designed to deter write-in candidates, to directly benefit the established politicians and parties. Getting the required # of signatures and paperwork to get on the ballots in a state like Alaska requires more resources than folks in the lower 48 might think, at least at first glance. An independent would need to spend a lot of time and money... which is one of the reasons voters should have the right to write in a vote...

I'd love to see how you parse this sentence, especially the middle clause

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,
the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Your comment has within it ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Your comment has within it the seed of its own refutation, Mr Wuzzy.

You say your hypothetical candidate Snellinboom is on the ballot, yet you, in your very next mention, call him SnellinGboom.

You are not an idiot, careless, or illiterate. You simply made a mistake. A typo.

Are you going to argue that a voter who intended to vote for Snellinboom and who inadvertently threw in a "g" should have his vote thrown out? Thank God the Alaska Supreme Court doesn't think so. Which is why they are allowing votes for Murcowski, Murkowsky, and Muirkowski to count, as they should.

Bruce, let me see if I can ... (Below threshold)

Bruce, let me see if I can sum up your position here: screw the actual letter of the law, screw the intent of the lawmakers, and screw all the efforts to make following the letter of the law as effortless and painless as possible -- what I think is "fair" should prevail!

That about right?

The time to challenge a law is before it is being put to the test. It's like whining about "unfair" rules in a game when you're losing -- it looks like you're just unhappy that you didn't know the rules ahead of time, or didn't think you would be affected by them.

"Sore loser" is one term that applies. "Whining git" is another.

As noted elsewhere, it looks like Murkowski might win with just the properly-spelled ballots. On the other hand, the military ballots are still pending, so it's still open.

J.

locomotivebreath1901 analy ... (Below threshold)

locomotivebreath1901 analy retains like a bloody lawyer and says there's nothing in Alaska's law about "exact spelling."

Good God, Amighty, that generations of the gummints of and by and for "Democrats" have reduced us to bloody lawyerspeak.

But all of that notwithstanding, there is something in Alaska's law that says one must write in the NAME OF THE CANDIDATE for which one wishes to cast one's vote.

And thugged up, self-serving, special-interest-sycophantic and subordinate low-life cow, Mercowskee -- and/or by any other name -- is not a candidate.

Grasping at straws galoot c... (Below threshold)

Grasping at straws galoot cannot reconcile with the reality that on November 2 most of America followed Patrick Henry's direction and voted to live FRee rather than to die.

Across the fruited plains, Republicans gained 675 state legislature seats, the most since 1928.

Republicans now control Congressional redistricting for the 2012 election in 13 states and 165 districts - while the dhimmis will have 4 states and 40 districts.

All that on top of:

Governors - Before November 2, 26 dhimmis and 24 Republicans;

Now 19 dhimmis (via voter fraud by Quinn in IL and in MN, still undecided) and 29 Republicans.

In the US Senate - Before November 2, 59 dhimmis and 41 Republicans.

Now 53 dhimmis (via electoral fraud by Murray in WA, Bennett in CO, and Reid in NV) and 47 Republicans.

House - Before November 2, 238 RICO racketeers and 178 Republicans. Now 189 fascists (via massive dhimmi electoral fraud in in all close races, 6 of which are still undecided) and 240 Republicans )

As for the electoral and voter fraud? That's what the "Democratic" National Socialist Workers' Fascist potty does, thanks to its ends-justify-the-means modified-Marxist amorality.

So our focus should be on the extraordinary conservative triumph over the dhimmicraps hundred years of so of massive electoral frauds, without which none of them - not a Kerry, not a Barnie's fWank nor a bloody Kennedy could gain office as even a dog-poop pickerupperer. A great majority of Americans chose last week to live free and not to die.

Meanwhile galoot and his gormless gang flounder even to the extent of attempting to confuse us by introducing as if it pertained to the interpretation of a write-in voter's intentions the Alaska "court's" case "law" as it was applied to the interpretation of intention from the shading of ovals on earlier disputed ballots.

My apples interpreted to judge the intentions of your oranges, eh, galoot?

In your dreams.

"Voter intent" means the ba... (Below threshold)
Buckeye:

"Voter intent" means the ballot is interpreted by a group of people who want to appear impartial while covering up their bias. Just another way to steal elections.

Brucie, the point I was mak... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Brucie, the point I was making was not my opinion of the law (that was later, where I stated my opinion that is designed to limit voters and candidates that lack deep pockets or party backing). Read galoob's inane argument about commas and the meaning of OR in the laws wording, then read again what I wrote.

For the record, I think Murkowski is a sore looser. If she won't abide by the party primary, the party should drop her regardless of the outcome of the write ins.
To me this is another law put in place by politicians to protect their interests (like the procedure to fill the Kennedy seat in Mass) that is great, until it bites them on the ass... then they want it changed. It has nothing to do with the will of the people, and everything to do with the kleptocracy we call the political class. I don't give a rats ass if it's and R or a D that is pulling the game...

Murkowski wins without any ... (Below threshold)
galoob:



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