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The Endless Election: Updates on Alaska and Minnesota

The Endless Election: Updates on Alaska and Minnesota

The rest of the country has settled down and moved on, but for Alaska and Minnesota, two very key races are still up in the air — the Alaska senate race, and the Minnesota governor’s race.  And in both cases, the candidate who is running behind is declaring that the system is tainted.

In Minnesota, where we’ve learned a lot about how to do a recount, the MNGOP is trying to raise a specter of voter fraud that they hope could either undo, delegitimize, or at least put off the seating of the likely winner, Democrat Mark Dayton, long enough to keep the current Republican governor in power once the new Republican legislature is in session.  In their two pronged attack they are now asking for citizens to write in with their experiences of “suspicious behavior” at polling places, including “same day voter registration,” which is ironic since same day registration is a legal and highly regarded part of Minnesota voter law.

But the GOP isn’t the only one pushing accusations.  MNGOP Chair Tony Sutton held a scathing press conference where he claimed that the newly re-elected Secretary of State should not be allowed to handle the process because he was once endorsed and supported by ACORN.  This ACORN accusation, one that was leveled against Mark Ritchie both during his 2006 campaign and again during the 2008 senate recount, was picked up and fueled by a local Fox News anchor who literally tried to badger Ritchie in an interview that most of the Minnesota media is declaring to have “totally crossed the line” of professionalism.

But declaring that the people in charge of making sure vote counts are accurate are biased against your trailing candidate isn’t just a Minnesota thing.  Joe Miller’s team in Alaska is trying the same ploy with the Alaskan Lieutenant governor.   According to the Alaskan Dispatch:

The website Politicsdaily.com is reporting that Miller, in a conference call with bloggers Thursday morning, is imputing the loyalties of the state’s top elections official. It quotes Miller:

“There are a number of fights that are going to have to be undertaken, in part, due to the fact that the division of elections (is) headed up by the lieutenant governor.

The lieutenant governor is effectively the same [as] what you might see in other states as the secretary of state. His statements are policy. He was appointed by Murkowski … has connections to the Murkowski family. In fact, when he, last summer, spoke at the time Sean Parnell was sworn in as governor, spent five or ten minutes praising the Murkowski Family. It was really kind of a curious thing given the lack of popularity at the time of Frank Murkowski.

But in any event, it appears that his bias is playing out in the decisions that he’s making, especially those that are directly contrary to the law.”

At issue is whether any write-in votes cast for Joe Miller would officially count as Miller votes.  The Lt. Governor said no, but Alaskan election officials have overridden that decision.

The overseer of Alaska elections now says write-in ballots cast for “Joe Miller” will go toward GOP nominee Joe Miller’s tally, so long as they’re cast properly.

It’s a change from what Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell said Tuesday night when asked that question.

He said then that write-in votes for Miller wouldn’t count because Joe Miller isn’t a qualified write-in candidate.

The rule could become a key part of the legal battle, as it adds yet another wrinkle into voter intent over misspelled ballots (What if the write in was for Miller, but with a different first name?  How many of the over 100 write in names are close to Joe Miller?).

This could be a long and contentious battle, and Sen. Murkowski has added Republican lawyer Ben Guinsberg to her team, a serious coup for the candidate, and also a sign that Minnesota Republican governor candidate Tom Emmer is not expected to win his recount — Guinsberg was a key part of the 2008 recount team for Sen. Norm Coleman.

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20 comments

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3:14PM PST on Nov 9, 2010

Noted

7:28AM PST on Nov 9, 2010

NOTED

1:10PM PST on Nov 8, 2010

Can anyone explain why Murkowski lost in the primary, but won in the general election as a write-in candidate? Seems kind of fishy to me. Was it to knock off the Democrat and Miller and Murkowski joined forces before the election?! Just wondering.

6:58AM PST on Nov 8, 2010

Thanks for the update.

8:27PM PST on Nov 7, 2010

Alaskans have it pummeled into their heads that democrats want to take away their guns. It is one of the few states that I think people need guns for survival, as everything there is outrageously expensive and essentially "imported." The people there need social services--and they won't get that from Republicans. And Michele Bachman doesn't give a shit about anybody except herself. She has publicly never shown empathy, except toward a corporation. Apparently she cannot comprehend what humanity is all about, as she's a cog in the GOP machine.

5:24PM PST on Nov 7, 2010

Look at the one's that live in Alaska, Don't know when to shout up,,,You know who.

7:33AM PST on Nov 7, 2010

The left is arguing for the Democrat candidates as the victor, the right for the Republican candidates, both claiming the other party is partaking in fraud as a means to an end. Perhaps we should all bond together in a common cause to fix what's broke, a purposely busted election system, instead of turning a blind eye to the corruption as long as it favors our candidate. If the system weren't so flawed, we wouldn't be discussing the possibility of a candidate not be sworn into office on time. All the more reason to kick out the established politicians that allowed this to happen in the first place.

4:54PM PDT on Nov 6, 2010

Thanks

4:16PM PDT on Nov 6, 2010

Thanks 4 the update!

3:48PM PDT on Nov 6, 2010

That is bizarre!

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