Miller argues misspelled Murkowski ballots should be seen as protest votes

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller has officially filed suit in federal court against the Alaska Division of Elections’ announced rules for counting write-in votes that may be credited to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R). The suit challenges the rules on a number of grounds. The main argument is that only a correctly spelled ballot, as opposed to a looser standard of “voter intent,” should be used to judge whether or not a ballot should be accepted, but Miller’s campaign also makes the claim, flagged by TPM’s Josh Marshall, that misspelled Murkowski ballots should in fact be interpreted not as votes for the senator but as protest votes against her. From the suit:

[T]he new policy makes no provision for the many voters who cast protest votes. Prior to the election, people commented on radio stations and in the comment sections in blogs and newspaper stories that they would deliberately incorrectly write-in a variation of “Murkowski” as a protest. They did so knowing that Murkowski was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a “spelling bee” campaign, replete with wrist bands, pencils and tattoos, all to educate the voters on proper spelling. Why was this done? Because even Murkowski had read the law and knew that it required proper spelling — “No exceptions.” So protest voters were trying to send a message to the candidate. The state has failed to create any guideline or standard that would account for the intent of the voter who intentionally cast a protest vote.

Marshall finds this argument pretty laughable, and at least from a legal standpoint, it would seem unlikely to hold water. Elections law expert Rick Hasen, however, thinks that Miller’s camp does have a few good arguments it could make — the most promising being a “due process claim” that argues the candidate’s rights were violated by a change in elections rules in the middle of the election.

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88 Comments

Miller argues misspelled Murkowski ballots should be seen as protest votes – The Washington Independent | FinanceZrr
Pingback posted November 10, 2010 @ 9:10 am

[...] Miller argues misspelled Murkowski ballots should be seen as protest votesThe Washington IndependentGOP Senate nominee Joe Miller has officially filed suit in federal court against the Alaska Division of Elections' announced rules for counting write-in votes that may be credited to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R). …Miller vs Murkowski, CtdThe AtlanticMiller sues over spelling as Alaska write-in vote count continuesMiamiHerald.comIn Alaska, the final countdownWashington PostUSA Today -The Associated Press -Reutersall 908 news articles » [...]


Miller argues misspelled Murkowski ballots should be seen as protest votes – The Washington Independent « iFoday.com
Pingback posted November 10, 2010 @ 9:13 am

[...] Miller argues misspelled Murkowski ballots should be seen as protest votesThe Washington IndependentGOP Senate nominee Joe Miller has officially filed suit in federal court against the Alaska Division of Elections' announced rules for counting write-in votes that may be credited to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R). …Miller vs Murkowski, CtdThe AtlanticMiller sues over spelling as Alaska write-in vote count continuesMiamiHerald.comIn Alaska, the final countdownWashington PostUSA Today -The Associated Press -Reutersall 908 news articles » [...]


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Pingback posted November 10, 2010 @ 9:56 am

[...] Miller argues misspelled Murkowski ballots should be seen &#9…The Washington IndependentGOP Senate contender Joe Miller has officially filed suit in federal court against the Alaska Division of Elections' announced rules for counting write-in votes that may be credited to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R). …Miller vs Murkowski, CtdThe AtlanticMiller sues over spelling as Alaska write-in vote count continuesMiamiHerald.comIn Alaska, the final countdownWashington PostUSA Today -The Associated Press -Reutersall 912 news articles » hopfeed_template=''; hopfeed_align='left'; hopfeed_type='IFRAME'; hopfeed_affiliate_tid=''; hopfeed_affiliate='owagu'; hopfeed_fill_slots='true'; hopfeed_height='90'; hopfeed_width='300'; hopfeed_cellpadding='1'; hopfeed_rows='1'; hopfeed_cols='2'; hopfeed_font='Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif'; hopfeed_font_size='8pt'; hopfeed_font_color='000000'; hopfeed_border_color='FFFFFF'; hopfeed_link_font_color='3300FF'; hopfeed_link_font_hover_color='3300FF'; hopfeed_background_color='FFFFFF'; hopfeed_keywords=''; hopfeed_path='http://owagu.hopfeed.com'; hopfeed_link_target='_blank'; [...]


Miller argues misspelled Murkowski ballots should be seen as protest votes – The Washington Independent | newslive.biz
Pingback posted November 10, 2010 @ 10:27 am

[...] Miller argues misspelled Murkowski ballots should be seen as protest votesThe Washington IndependentGOP Senate nominee Joe Miller has officially filed suit in federal court against the Alaska Division of Elections' announced rules for counting write-in votes that may be credited to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R). …Miller vs Murkowski, CtdThe AtlanticMiller sues over spelling as Alaska write-in vote count continuesMiamiHerald.comIn Alaska, the final countdownWashington PostUPI.com -The Associated Press -ABC News (blog)all 916 news articles » No TweetBacks yet. (Be the first to Tweet this post) « Iraqi Christians targeted in another slew of attacks – Christian Science Monitor Gonzalez: Klein lost respect of teachers, parents – New York Daily News » [...]


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“Alaska Senate Election: Joe Miller SUES Over Voter Intent Issue” and related posts « Most Popular News Stories
Pingback posted November 10, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

[...] Miller argues misspelled Murkowski ballots should be seen as protest votes - The Washington Independent [...]


Ray1938
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

Would Joe Miller recognize a misspelled word?


Ray1938
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

Would Joe Miller recognize a misspelled word?


Ray1938
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

Would Joe Miller recognize a misspelled word?


Mike
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

I propose they use the standard that was established in the 2000 presidential election – anybody who can't figure out how to do it correctly must be a Democrat.


Mike
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

I propose they use the standard that was established in the 2000 presidential election – anybody who can't figure out how to do it correctly must be a Democrat.


Mike
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

I propose they use the standard that was established in the 2000 presidential election – anybody who can't figure out how to do it correctly must be a Democrat.


Zlbl4
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

Sounds kind of elitist of Joe Miller.


Zlbl4
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

Sounds kind of elitist of Joe Miller.


Ghost453
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

I guess even a crazy Tea Bagger will try to subvert the Constitution in order to win an election. This makes him no better than any other elected official.


Ghost453
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

I guess even a crazy Tea Bagger will try to subvert the Constitution in order to win an election. This makes him no better than any other elected official.


Dutra
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

Just keep changing the rules until she wins. It is that easy!


Dutra
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

Just keep changing the rules until she wins. It is that easy!


3rdsun
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:34 pm

What rule is that?


3rdsun
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:34 pm

What rule is that?


Tyberiousv3_11
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

Wait. There's less than one million people in alaska. 1) why do we care, 2) how many could be actual protesters anyway?


Tyberiousv3_11
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

Wait. There's less than one million people in alaska. 1) why do we care, 2) how many could be actual protesters anyway?


spongekill
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

what a bunch of nonsense


spongekill
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

what a bunch of nonsense


Teabagger Vance
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

Nothing like accepting defeat gracefully — As if those who'd vote for Murkowski are likely to be spelling wizards?


Teabagger Vance
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

Nothing like accepting defeat gracefully — As if those who'd vote for Murkowski are likely to be spelling wizards?


Observer81
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

So if someone wrote Joe Miler, it wouldn't count for him, right? Right?


Observer81
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

So if someone wrote Joe Miler, it wouldn't count for him, right? Right?


Williamporte
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

idiocy has no limit


Williamporte
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

idiocy has no limit


Laker612
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:53 pm

More political crap to distract the populace from the real issues. Miller, Murkowski, Marshall … I think a person with learning disabilities could recognize the difference and intent … but then again, these aare politicians. I apologize to those with learning/reading disabilities if I have offended them. To the politicans ….. pffffft!


Laker612
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:53 pm

More political crap to distract the populace from the real issues. Miller, Murkowski, Marshall … I think a person with learning disabilities could recognize the difference and intent … but then again, these aare politicians. I apologize to those with learning/reading disabilities if I have offended them. To the politicans ….. pffffft!


Getken
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

And who's paying for the lawsuit?


Getken
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

And who's paying for the lawsuit?


Daniel Gray
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

Protest vote?! Yeah…in the same way that kicking the ball into your own team's net is a protest goal. Good one Joe, clever.


Daniel Gray
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

Protest vote?! Yeah…in the same way that kicking the ball into your own team's net is a protest goal. Good one Joe, clever.


1Dude
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

why would someone write in a name that is on the ballot??


1Dude
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

why would someone write in a name that is on the ballot??


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malloci
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

Perhaps I'm missing something, but it seems the best form of protest to a write-in campaign is to vote for someone already on the ballot.


malloci
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

Perhaps I'm missing something, but it seems the best form of protest to a write-in campaign is to vote for someone already on the ballot.


HonestInjun
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

It's not like there's any precedent set anywhere, right? I say we recount the Bush vs Gore votes in Florida. If misspeled wards dunt kount, than niethor duz hungin chods or dempaled ponch kard wholes!

I don't suppose one could go on radio and scream “misspell 'Murkowski' as a protest” so they'd have a leg to stand on after the elections. Could they? NAH! Politicians aren't like that – as their advertising campaigns clearly demonstrate, politicians prefer to stand on their own merit. Such a ploy would be unthinkable!


HonestInjun
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

It's not like there's any precedent set anywhere, right? I say we recount the Bush vs Gore votes in Florida. If misspeled wards dunt kount, than niethor duz hungin chods or dempaled ponch kard wholes!

I don't suppose one could go on radio and scream “misspell 'Murkowski' as a protest” so they'd have a leg to stand on after the elections. Could they? NAH! Politicians aren't like that – as their advertising campaigns clearly demonstrate, politicians prefer to stand on their own merit. Such a ploy would be unthinkable!


Martel
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

Joe Miller and other delusional individuals might disagree with you for no rational reason whatsoever.


Martel
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

Joe Miller and other delusional individuals might disagree with you for no rational reason whatsoever.


Marv Swett
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

Only if he used the spell checker on a government-supplied computer.


Marv Swett
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

Only if he used the spell checker on a government-supplied computer.


Murkowski versus Miller: election or spelling bee? – Christian Science Monitor | Headline News from around the world
Pingback posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

[...] Joe Miller files lawsuit in Alaska Senate raceUSA TodayIn Alaska, the final countdownWashington PostThe Washington Independent -MiamiHerald.com -The Atlanticall 945 news [...]


Martel
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

I actually do care, mostly because only 700,000 people in Alaska get to send 2 individuals to the U.S. Senate.

Every Alaska voter has 10 times the political power at the senatorial ballot box than the average American because in America, apparently, empty land is of more importance than citizens.


Martel
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

I actually do care, mostly because only 700,000 people in Alaska get to send 2 individuals to the U.S. Senate.

Every Alaska voter has 10 times the political power at the senatorial ballot box than the average American because in America, apparently, empty land is of more importance than citizens.


Robert
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

To force a manual counting of their vote if they suspected the vote tabulation machines could be tampered with, a la Hacking Democracy.


Robert
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

To force a manual counting of their vote if they suspected the vote tabulation machines could be tampered with, a la Hacking Democracy.


mtphotohound
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

How ironic that a Republican would want a misspelled name to not count against him – an uneducated populace is exactly what the Republicans want – it helps them get their agenda over on us. Be careful what you wish for – it may just beat you.


mtphotohound
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

How ironic that a Republican would want a misspelled name to not count against him – an uneducated populace is exactly what the Republicans want – it helps them get their agenda over on us. Be careful what you wish for – it may just beat you.


Martel
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

There's only one problem with that statement. Only someone so bereft of brain function that he would be unlikely to be able to walk, tie his shoes, talk, write or learn to recognize himself in a mirror would think that misspelling a candidate's name as you write it in on a ballot would be some kind of 'protest'.

If any voter with an IQ over 50 wanted to protest Murkowski, he/she would have done the much simpler and vastly more effective thing and voted for one of the other two candidates, especially since the polls were predicting a close election.

Face it, the right-wingnut radio clowns who were attempting to disrupt the entire electoral process are influential only among those who don't have the mental ability to write their own names, much less Murkowski's.


Martel
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

There's only one problem with that statement. Only someone so bereft of brain function that he would be unlikely to be able to walk, tie his shoes, talk, write or learn to recognize himself in a mirror would think that misspelling a candidate's name as you write it in on a ballot would be some kind of 'protest'.

If any voter with an IQ over 50 wanted to protest Murkowski, he/she would have done the much simpler and vastly more effective thing and voted for one of the other two candidates, especially since the polls were predicting a close election.

Face it, the right-wingnut radio clowns who were attempting to disrupt the entire electoral process are influential only among those who don't have the mental ability to write their own names, much less Murkowski's.


Thomas Mc
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

If it is even remotely possible that you could lose to a write in candidate, then you obviously DON'T deserve the office.


Thomas Mc
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

If it is even remotely possible that you could lose to a write in candidate, then you obviously DON'T deserve the office.


Withabeat
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

So much for Joe Miller wanting every vote to count, not disenfranchising any voter….


Withabeat
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

So much for Joe Miller wanting every vote to count, not disenfranchising any voter….


Smokin Aces
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

someone on the ballot already can't have a write in vote count even if it is spelled correctly.


Smokin Aces
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

someone on the ballot already can't have a write in vote count even if it is spelled correctly.


the good miller
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

Mr. “sates rights” Miller is suing Alaska in federal court ? Can you say hypocrite.


the good miller
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

Mr. “sates rights” Miller is suing Alaska in federal court ? Can you say hypocrite.


Pow The Kows
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

All candidates on the ballot have THEIR names spelled correctly, therefore it stands to reason that if you want to be a write in candidate that YOUR name MUST MUST MUST be spelled correctly. I recall times ballots have been recalled and reissued due to spelling errors. If the oval is filled out and the name is NOT “MURKOWSKI” then it had best NOT count as a vote for that woman who lost the primary. What a whiney family dynasty and legacy to leave behind… all those lizard faced, self-serving, nepotistic KOW's should slither under their rock and stay there.


Pow The Kows
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

All candidates on the ballot have THEIR names spelled correctly, therefore it stands to reason that if you want to be a write in candidate that YOUR name MUST MUST MUST be spelled correctly. I recall times ballots have been recalled and reissued due to spelling errors. If the oval is filled out and the name is NOT “MURKOWSKI” then it had best NOT count as a vote for that woman who lost the primary. What a whiney family dynasty and legacy to leave behind… all those lizard faced, self-serving, nepotistic KOW's should slither under their rock and stay there.


FredFlintstone
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

Name must be spelled correctly? Does it have to be their LEGAL name??? Nope. In 1976, some guy running for President of the United States filed a lawsuit in Maine to have his not-legal name, “Jimmy Carter” put on the ballot. Seems “James Earl Cater” sounded too much like “James Earl Ray.” Jimmy won. Millerski. Good choice! :-)


FredFlintstone
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

Name must be spelled correctly? Does it have to be their LEGAL name??? Nope. In 1976, some guy running for President of the United States filed a lawsuit in Maine to have his not-legal name, “Jimmy Carter” put on the ballot. Seems “James Earl Cater” sounded too much like “James Earl Ray.” Jimmy won. Millerski. Good choice! :-)


Dsmithmcse
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

Here's a suggestion. Since the democratic nomonee conceeded Alaska needs to hold a special election with only the two names (spelled correctly of course) on the ballot. The canidate with the simple majotiry wins. End-of-Issue


Dsmithmcse
Comment posted November 10, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

Here's a suggestion. Since the democratic nomonee conceeded Alaska needs to hold a special election with only the two names (spelled correctly of course) on the ballot. The canidate with the simple majotiry wins. End-of-Issue


Joedglenn
Comment posted November 11, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

Miller is so gay.


Icybays
Comment posted November 12, 2010 @ 1:15 am

Miller lost. Period. Even if only perfect spellings were counted, and that is not the law, she won anyway. She is thousands and thousands of votes ahead of Miller.
Now if Miller’s brother was governor and his campaign manager ran the state’s elections, THEN he could win ….


Icybays
Comment posted November 12, 2010 @ 1:23 am

Congratulations, Bush-worshiper “Pow The K.” You spelled all the words right in your posting. One problem, though. “Nepotistic” is not a word at all. ~~~ And your candidate, Joe Miller, lost badly. He is out, back on unconstitutional unemployment insurance.


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