Bad Spelling Could Swing Alaska Senate Race
Murkowski, Miller legal teams brace for court fight
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2010 1:21 AM CST
Write-in ballots, the vast majority of them believed to be for Murkowski, currently lead Miller by over 11,000 votes.   (AP Photo/Chris Miller)
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(Newser) – "Murkowski" is one of the best-known names in Alaskan politics and the fate of the state's Senate race may depend on how well Alaskans can spell it. Election workers will begin examining thousands of write-in ballots today, and while results suggest that Lisa Murkowski is on the way to becoming only the second write-in candidate ever to win a Senate race, Tea Party-backed GOP nominee Joe Miller has promised a fierce fight—down to the letter, AP reports.

Election officials say they will use discretion to determine voter intent where the name written on a ballot "appears to be a variation or misspelling" of Murkowski. But Miller's lawyers say that is unacceptable, and vow to take the issue to court if necessary. Murkowski—who spent much of her campaign educating voters on the write-in process and handed out wristbands with her name on them—has hired her own legal team, including Ben Ginsberg, who worked with George Bush and Dick Cheney during the 2000 Florida recount.