Murkowski's lead widens; Miller wants hand recount

Anchorage Daily NewsNovember 16, 2010 

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

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

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.

But 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.

DeSoto noted the write-in ballots were reviewed by hand to see what name voters wrote in. "Given how close the vote totals are, Miller needs to be given the same opportunity of having all of his ballots inspected and counted by hand to ensure every vote cast for him is counted," DeSoto said in a written statement.

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.

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