148 People File as Declared Write-in Candidates for U.S. Senate in Alaska

Politico has this story, that on the last day, over 100 people signed up to be declared write-in candidates for U.S. Senate in Alaska.  The intent is to make the list of declared write-in candidates so long that the list supposedly won’t be useful to Lisa Murkowski.  However, if the list if alphabetized, it will still be useful.

No one with a surname of  “M” and a first name of “Lisa” filed.  Here is the list.  Thanks to Rick Hasen for that link.

This idea spread on a talk show.  It is somewhat similar to an attempt in California in 2003 to encourage people to file for the ballot in the special gubernatorial recall election, by a wealthy individual who was willing to pay the California filing fee.  His motivation was to sabotage the recall, and the recall did end up with a ballot with 135 candidates listed.


148 People File as Declared Write-in Candidates for U.S. Senate in Alaska — 29 Comments

  1. “This is GREAT!!! And voters have a right to know the names of ALL 100+ people declared,too!”

    …like that really matters in plurality elections. 150-odd egotists, trying to prove why they’re each better than the other 150-odd egocentrics.

    Can you imagine what the press conference and/or debate would be like?

    MMP Darryl Perry [Boston Tea], please stick to the plan. We’re already laying groundwork for ss11-6 to parctice for the nationals in 2012.

    We need some executives who want to work together as a team, we’re lost touch with the current three Prime Ministers of ss11-6, and we need better Cabinet members.

    We are barely five feet inland on the beach, and we’re being decimated.


  2. I’m sure they’ll alphabetize the list, since it’s reasonable to conclude that whoever is pushing this at the Division of Elections is trying to support Murkowski.

    I’m a fan of improved ballot access and better elections as much as anyone … but I’m also a fan of the RULE OF LAW.

    The law:

    Title 6 Governor’s Office
    Part 1 Elections
    Chapter 25 Administration of Elections
    Article 1 General Administration
    6 AAC 25.070. Write-in candidates; use of stickers (b) “Information regarding a write-in candidate may not be discussed, exhibited, or provided at the polling place, or within 200 feet of any entrance to the polling place, on election day.”

    The judge that granted the temporary restraining order is correct. The state supreme court staying the order is wrong. The Division of Elections screwed up. If we can’t trust the Division of Elections to properly and fairly conduct the elections according to the law … we have serious issues.

  3. Thanks for voting this year, I really appreciated that.
    I had been a little under the weather, and needed some input.

    If you decide to coordinate more, I’m all for more coordination. Looks like Paulie [Libertarian] over there in IPR is also a BTP. He probably speaks Russian, and we have a strong Russian connection to the USA-PAR, since Igor Chudov [Libertarian] was our PM for ten years, and since MP Mike Bogatirev [Environmentalist] helped get us started in 1983 by founding the Env Party when we ran against Clint in 1986.

    You probably weren’t there in Usenet in 1995 to when the stiff competition erupted between the owner of Greens.org and myself, which created a lot of the groundwork for us. It started in 1993 when I ran for CA Gov live in Usenet on a platform of state voting reform through proportional representation.

    MP winger was there to a small extent. I had written MP Nader [Independent] about his prez nomination in the USA-PAR in 1995, before the Green Party did. I also wrote all 125 candidates, people like Chomsky, Castro, Gingrich, Willie Brown, etc., etc. in 1995, and sent them all a hemp paper ballot.

    Google bought Usenet (DejaVu) and deleted the part when they founded after discovering my ball of activity there in ’97. They probably don’t want you to know the truth.

    Windows ’95 didn’t even exist when the US Parliament was gearing up….I mean we have roots, all I’m suggesting is that you water the roots a little more.

    Google started in October of ’97.

    BTW, keep up the good work, your web page looks good. We all need free press, I’m still trying to find true free speech platforms like Usenet was, to this day.

    On Normandy beach we need teamwork, so thanks for letting me know in advance not to count on you…that’s actually sort of like teamwork in itself.


    “One nation, under pure proportional representation…”

  4. Richard, I’m curious – violation of free speech? Or something else? Election officials & poll workers definitely shouldn’t be promoting or discouraging voting for any particular candidate.

    I’m not saying the law is good, but I do think that if the Division of Elections starts picking and choosing which laws to follow based on what they think is right, that’s very bad.

  5. It isn’t “electioneering” for government-printed ballots to list the candidates whose names are on the ballot. And many states have voter pamphlets that also list all the candidates whose names are on the ballot, and these pamphlets are freely available at polling places. By analogy, it isn’t “electioneering” for the government to provide a list of the write-in candidates at the polls. Keeping voters ignorant about the list of all official candidates cannot possibly be good social policy. Most states provide the list of declared write-in candidates at the polls, and a few even post the list inside the voting booth.

  6. I believe that simply providing a list of all write-in candidates who have filed is not electioneering. It is not saying or implying that “so-and-so candidate” is better than a candidate whose name appears on the ballot.

    As to the order in which the names appear, they could list them in alphabetical order, in which case I suppose Murkowski’s name would appear somewhere in the middle of the list. Other option would be to have the names appear in random order. A final option would be chronologically by the date they filed as write-in candidates. That last option would probably benefit Murkowski.

    I agree with Richard that the section of the law is probably unconstitutional, since there’s a procedure for write-in candidates.

  7. Just to be clear, I’m not saying that the law as it exists now is a good law. I’m just saying that it is the law. I think it would be good to have a small booklet containing all information about everything on the ballot, including a list of the official write-in candidates.

    However, I think the law as it exists needs to be followed, because I don’t think that government officials arbitrarily deciding which laws to follow and which ones to ignore is a good idea. I’m not convinced I buy the “unconstitutional” argument since I’m pretty sure the state legislature has the power to set up elections and manage them.

    We did get a booklet in the mail a few weeks ago about the election. Alaska is divided into four “Regions” and each region apparently has their own booklet. The booklet has a sample ballot for each house district in the region, and a page for each ballot-qualified candidate for all of the races, as well as information on ballot questions and on judges. I didn’t see any mention of write-ins other than the spots on the sample ballots.

    Whether or not this is how it “should be” is a different question from whether or not this should be changed in the middle of the election process.

  8. #10 It is electioneering if the election officials apply this procedure on an ad hoc basis, especially since it appears that the policy has not consistently been executed.

    If 6 AAC 25.070, as applied, is unconstitutional, is there not a procedure that should be followed to get a judicial determination to that effect? At minimum, shouldn’t Alaska have sought pre-clearance under Section 5 of the VRA?

  9. To Darryl Perry [Boston Tea]:

    I checked out your Boston Tea election for a possible 2011 meeting, and I can tell you that you are heading down a dysfunctional path.

    You may want to time you elections with the USA Parliament, if you want too coordinate with the all party (and independents) system.

    We hold nominations from 1/1 to 4/1, and then elect the BoD from 4/20 to 8/5 every year, even and odd year alike.

    Even years are for super-state state and national elections, and odd years are for mini-state elections.

    All members are free to practice on all three levels every year. There are no restrictions with regard to regions in our rules, other than US citizenship requirements for voters, as we have so few members participating.

  10. I just spoke to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and this write in change was approved by them in an expedited manner.

  11. There is a “Lisa M. Lackey” in the list, So, “Lisa M.” might be not enough to identify voter intent.

  12. Thanks for checking on that Northern Exposure. By the way, here are some interesting excerpts from the original decision issued by the superior court judge (the one who issued the restraining order against the Division of Elections) regarding the DoJ approval …

    “On October 15, 2010, the Division surreptitiously sought approval from the Department of Justice for approval under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to provide polling places with a list of write-in candidates for the November 2, 2010, general election. The list would include the name of the candidate, the candidate’s party affiliation, and the write-in candidate’s registration status with the Division. The Division had never before provided a list of write-in candidates in polling places.

    The Division implemented its write-in voting list plan without obtaining Department of Justice approval of the plan.”

    [FYI – early voting and in-person absentee voting began on Monday, October 18]

    Later in the judge’s decision:

    “… on October 26, 2010, the Department of Justice provided conditional approval of the format for the write-in candidate list proposed by the Division on October 15, 2010.”

    In summary …

    * The Division of Elections requested approval from the Department of Justice on Friday, October 15 — the last business day before the early voting & in-person absentee voting is scheduled to begin in Alaska — about providing write-in lists at the polling places.
    * Division of Elections proceeds to provide write-in lists anyway, having not yet received a reply from the DoJ.
    * On October 26, after the Alaska Democratic Party has already filed a lawsuit because the Division of Elections would not stop distributing the lists, the Department of Justice “provided conditional approval” for the write-in candidate lists.

    I am curious as to whether or not the DoJ is aware of the regulation explicitly prohibiting providing lists of write-in candidates in the Alaska Administrative Code.

    For anyone interested, a copy of the temporary restraining order is here:


    Clifford … I’m guessing you’re right. Get ready for another lawsuit …

    P.S. James O. can you please write something, ANYTHING, that’s actually on topic?

  13. Word now comes that the Murkowski campaigned, through legal threats, has succeeded in removing radio commentator, Dan Fagen of Anchorage from the airwaves over this. He was the one who urged his callers to register as write-in candidates to frustrate the Murkowski campaign. This is the exact type of abuse of power that we need to STOP! Murkowski is a power mad monster!!! Grab the pitchforks and the torches, and storm the castle next Tuesday!

  14. What I write Chip, this IS on topic.

    Because I’m promoting the exact reverse of what everyone here is doing.

    You all are fighting to restore/reform single winner district election law, I’m fighting to implement the opposite, 100-member election law.

    You don’t see how it relates, because you’re flying blindly into the flame, where you’re going to get burned.

    I’m trying to help you see the flame you’re angling to get into. I’m helping you see the flame, an that’s relevant. You just don’t get it yet. I guess you need to evolve a little more. 🙂

  15. James … respectfully …

    I understand that you support proportional representation and don’t like single-member districts. I don’t entirely disagree with you – I’d love to have a legislative body with proportional representation (although to me it might make sense to have two legislative bodies – one with single member districts and another with PR).

    That, however, is not the topic here. The topic (in this case) is the craziness that is the 2010 Alaska U.S. Senate race.

    A discussion of proportional representation and the US Parliament is, at best, vaguely related in the broadest sense of the term.

    Let me give what I see as a comparable analogy. If there was a discussion about game 2 of the MLB World Series between the Rangers and Giants, and I came along to the discussion and ranted about the legitimacy (or not) of anti-trust law exemptions, would that be on topic?

    In the vaguest sense, one could make a weak argument that it is, because MLB has an anti-trust exemption. But it doesn’t have anything to do with game 2 of the Rangers / Giants World Series.

    In the same way, the US Parliament doesn’t have anything to do with the Alaska US Senate race.

    I’m not your enemy. I support PR. But I’d like to discuss the topic that Mr. Winger posts about, not repeatedly read about the US Parliament, regardless of whether or not it’s relevant to the discussion.

  16. The number of write-in will not matter much because it is my guess that if they registered to confuse things only the will get zero votes. They will not even vote for themselves.
    What type of voting machines do they us in Ak?

  17. Most ballots are counted by AccuVote-OS machines (optical scanners). There are also AccuVote-TSX (touchscreen direct recording machines) for disabled voters. The ballots can also be hand-counted.

    They are the “fill in the oval” for your selection (including if you are writing in a candidate).

  18. What — NO *Lisa Moron* candidate ???

    How about Aaron Aardvark ??? or perhaps Zorro Zylophone ???

  19. “What — NO *Lisa Moron* candidate ???
    How about Aaron Aardvark ??? or perhaps Zorro Zylophone ???”

    I agree, no Ben Dover or other similar names, although I wonder what are the “Ballot name issues” for Thomas D. Dicus.

    I was expecting someone similar to Pro Life Richardson (Ind. candidate for Idaho governor) or Joe Ferret (write-in candidate for Calif. governor who is an actual ferret, being run by people who want to legalize having the animal as a pet there).

  20. Are ALL the voters supposed to be knowing who ALL the write-in candidates are for each office immediately at the write-in deadline ???

    — the old ignorance of the LAW is NO excuse stuff.

    — i.e. any public posting of the write-in candidates at local clerk offices or on the internet — along with the candidates on the ballots ???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *