No Decision on Write-In Lists Yet

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

LATE BREAKING: The Alaska Supreme Court will allow limited distribution of the write-in candidate list.

At news time, still no word from the Alaska Supreme Court on whether or not the state division of elections may provide lists of write-in candidates for voters who ask for them at early voting polling places and on election day.

Earlier this week, the state’s high court had ordered a stay on a Superior Court decision to prohibit the use of lists at polling places, citing violation of Alaska election law.

The legal wrangling is a result of a suit filed by the Alaska Democratic Party against the state division of elections over perceived voting irregularities in Homer and in Chugiak.  The suit was joined by the Republican Party of Alaska.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the lists to be used at polling places, but had required the state division of elections to segregate any ballots that were filed using information from the lists.  In an affidavit filed with the high court, division of elections director Gail Fenumiai stated that segregation of ballots would be possible at early voting polling places, but would not be possible on election day itself due to logistical problems posed by an expected high number of voters and the high number of polling places.  Fenumiai told the court that 438 polling places, many in remote locations, had already received election materials, and that the division lacks the resources to monitor every one of them to ensure that the segregated ballots are properly handled.

Reports are that the division of elections received around 60 filings as write-in candidates Thursday after an Anchorage talk show host urged listeners to do so.  The host, Dan Fagan, a Joe Miller supporter, asked them to do so as part of “Operation Alaska Chaos”, an effort to confuse voters by making Lisa Murkowski’s name harder to find on a write-in list.

Fagan has been temporarily taken off the air as of Friday.

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