Some of the fight seems to be leaving Joe Miller’s ballot
counting challenge. The body language of the Miller observers is telling. On
this third day of counting write-in votes in the still-undecided Senate race
between Republican nominee Joe Miller and Senator Lisa Murkowski, there were
fewer challenges made to votes where Murkowski’s name was spelled correctly.
Over the first two days of counting, Miller observers were
challenging about 10-percent of the ballots. Most of those challenges were
being overruled by Elections Director Gail Fenumiai, but those votes were being
segregated in case Miller’s lawsuit is successful.
But Friday, the challenge rate dropped below 8-percent,
which is significant because for Miller’s lawsuit to matter he needs to have roughly
12-percent of the write-in votes to get tossed. So it’s very possible that
Murkowski could win the election regardless the outcome of Miller’s attempt to
have misspelled votes for Murkowski rejected.
Team Murkowski is elated and feeling so confident it’s
letting hired gun Ben Ginsberg go home. Ginsberg, who was George Bush’s lead
attorney during the Florida recount in 2000, was working for Murkowski. He sees
no chance Miller would be successful in court getting slightly misspelled write-in
votes tossed out given the case law which favors enfranchising voters where
voter intent can easily be discerned.
Miller has retreated to his home in Fairbanks and continues
to send out press releases to supporters urging them to keep up the fight and
send him money. Depending how long this drags on, it could get extremely
The Elections Division will be counting ballots through next
week. They still have tens of
thousands of absentee and question ballots to add up.