Joe…. And I Thought You Were Pathetic Before.

Update, 5:02 p.m.

Results just came in. The Division of Elections is done reviewing write-in ballots for almost half the precincts in Alaska and is still counting nearly 98 percent of them for Lisa Murkowski.

The Division reports 89.78 percent of the write-ins are unchallenged for Murkowski, a number that’s held steady during the count.

The Division of Elections overturned challenges by the Miller campaign on another 8 percent of the ballots and counted them for Murkowski. Miller hopes the courts will reverse that.

Just 1.52 percent of the 45,132 write-in ballots reviewed so far have been successfully challenged by Miller ballot observers.

The review of write-in ballots is will continue tomorrow.

Update, 4:39 p.m.

From Sean Cockerham in Juneau –

Joe Miller campaign advisor Floyd Brown just came out and suggested the election was tainted by voter fraud and intimidation, but wouldn’t any provide examples of where that happened.

“The stories of manipulation are just almost mind boggling,” Brown said at a press conference called this afternoon by the Miller campaign.

The only evidence that the Miller campaign would provide was an affidavit from a poll watcher in Fairbanks, Rocky MacDonald, who complained that the ballot box at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds “was unsecured in that the electoral judges had access to the inside of the ballot box with a key.”

“The electoral judges opened the ballot box several times to clear jammed ballots and rearrange by hand the ballots in the box to make space for new ballots,” MacDonald wrote.

MacDonald also complained the ballot counter on the box was inoperable from the time the polls opened until 8:30 a.m., and that there was only one ballot box at that precinct.

Brown suggested malfeasance went far beyond that, though.

He stopped short of saying the Miller campaign was alleging voter fraud but said talk radio hosts and the campaign have heard from many people alleging fraud and intimidation.

Brown told the story of a fisherman who was told to take a political sign off his boat or “the major corporate entity that takes his fish would no longer take it.” Brown wouldn’t provide the name of the fisherman, the town where he lived or the name of the corporation that made the alleged threat.

“A lot of these people are afraid to give their names because of this history of voter intimidation,” Brown told the press.

Brown said the Miller campaign has set up a hotline and hopes to make public in the coming days examples of voter fraud.

Update, 2:14 p.m.

Floyd Brown, the man responsible for the “Willie Horton” television ad that helped derail the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign in 1988, has signed up for the Joe Miller campaign.

Brown is here in Juneau today for the write-in ballot review and he has called a 3:30 p.m. press conference to discuss “the direction of the Miller campaign heading into the weekend.” Brown is being described by the campaign as “advisor to Joe Miller.”

I wrote a profile of Brown a few years ago.

He created a a 1-900 line in 1992 so callers could hear edited excerpts of telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Arkansas lounge singer Gennifer Flowers. He’s also founder of Citizens United, whose Supreme Court case led to the allowance of unlimited donations from corporations and unions to certain types of political committees.

The Citizens United case opened the door for Alaskans Standing Together, the consortium of Native corporations that spent more than $1 million to help Lisa Murkowski’s write-in effort.

Brown now runs the Web site.

Update, 12:37 p.m.

We just received the first results of today’s count and the trend is similar to what we saw yesterday, with Lisa Murkowski receiving nearly 98 percent of the write in ballots cast.

The Alaska Division of Elections has now reviewed the writes-in for 32 percent of the precincts. More than 89 percent of the 30,023 write-in votes cast are unchallenged for Murkowski.

Another 8.4 percent of the writes-in were challenged by Miller campaign observers but counted for Murkowski by Elections Director Gail Fenumiai.Those include examples of ballots that appear to be filled out correctly but were still challenged (see below). The Miller campaign challenges of those votes still stand, with Miller hoping the courts will rule on them.

They are being segregated in boxes with the status “counted but challenged.”

Just 1.5 percent of the write-in ballots have been successfully challenged by the Miller ballot observers, with Fenumiai agreeing with Miller that they should not be counted.

Original post

The second day of reviewing write-in ballots has begun, and the Miller campaign observers are aggressively challenging ballots.

Often the challenged ballots (the ones pictured above are examples) appear to be filled out correctly, including the spelling of Lisa Murkowski’s name.

“All we’re doing right now is identifying any ballots that are questionable, have any deviation from the standard,” said Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto.

The Miller campaign expects the courts to have the final say.

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