Murkowski has 98% of Alaska's write-in votes

The Anchorage Daily NewsNovember 11, 2010 

JUNEAU -- Almost 98 percent of write-in ballots opened Wednesday went to Lisa Murkowski on the first day of a count meant to decide Alaska's U.S. Senate race.

The Division of Elections accepted few of the objections made by Joe Miller's campaign to the ballots.

"So far things look really good for us," said Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney, who is in Juneau watching the write-in ballot count.

Elections workers opened the write-in ballots for almost 20 percent of the precincts in Alaska on Wednesday. The count of more than 90,000 write-ins will continue today and is expected to last five days.

The Miller campaign hopes to pull out a victory in the race with a lawsuit asking the federal courts to force the state to toss out misspelled ballots.

A federal judge denied Miller's request to immediately stop the count while the complaint is considered but said he will hear both sides next week.

Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto said the votes challenged by Miller's ballot observers are being segregated in boxes and the lawsuit will determine whether they go to Murkowski in the end.

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