All Votes for Murkowski Go Through One Woman

Gail Fenumiai oversees unprecedented election
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2010 8:24 PM CST
All Votes for Murkowski Go Through One Woman
Alaska Elections Division Director Gail Fenumiai, right, and Assistant Attorney General Sarah Felix look over a ballot Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010, in Juneau, Alaska.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(Newser) – With 98,500 write-in votes cast in the Alaska Senate race, the contest is being decided through the actions of one woman: Gail Fenumiai, the director of Alaska's Division of Elections. Fenumiai has been personally overseeing the unprecedented count, in which write-in ballots—some with significantly mutilated spellings of Murkowski's name—are declared legitimate or discarded, NPR reports.

A typical day in Fenumiai's operation sees her perform her court-ordered duty: of write-ins casting a ballot for "Lisa Murcouski," "Lisa Murkowksi," "Lisa Murizowski" and "Lisa Mikawski," she counts the first pair and disqualifies the second. But her accepted misspellings may be later disqualified by a judge. Alaska's lieutenant governor says he had the "utmost confidence" in Fenumiai's competence and integrity. "She takes it seriously," he said. "She's proving she has what it takes."

(Read more Lisa Murkowski stories.)

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