Alaska Senate: Facing Large Murkowski Lead, Miller Demands Hand Recount

Posted: Nov 17, 2010 12:18 PM
Two updates on what has turned out to be one of the most bizarre and vicious campaigns of the 2010 cycle --

(1) Lisa Murkowski has reportedly amassed an "apparently insurmountable" lead over Joe Miller:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski enjoys an apparently insurmountable 10,400-vote lead over Joe Miller after the week-long review of write-in ballots. But the Miller campaign isn't giving up and says Alaska's computerized voting system is "suspect."

Even subtracting all the votes counted for Murkowski but challenged by the Miller campaign, Murkowski would still be ahead by 2,247 votes. That margin appears to make Miller's lawsuit asking the courts to toss out misspelled votes irrelevant. There aren't enough misspelled votes identified for Miller to win.

(2) With its back to the wall, and citing "suspect" voting systems, the Miller campaign is now demanding a hand recount of every single Alaska ballot:

The Miller campaign wants the Division of Elections to recount the entire Senate race by hand, spokesman Randy DeSoto said Tuesday night.

...DeSoto said that the lawsuit is continuing and the campaign hopes a hand recount will pick up more Miller votes. There were more than 255,000 votes cast in Alaska's Senate election.

But Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said the state doesn't do recounts entirely by hand. "Recounts are done using the optical scan equipment," she said in an e-mail.

It certainly appears at this point that the incumbent is in a good position to retain her seat, but it's tough to fully blame the Miller camp for pressing on with the fight when ballots like this are somehow being counted for Murkowski:

This saga may drag on for quite awhile.