“It’s very clear under Alaska case law that voter intent has to be considered when reviewing the ballots,” said Ms. Murkowski’s lawyer, Timothy McKeever. Although the previous cases cited by Ms. Fenumiai weren’t related to write-in ballots, “a person who casts a write-in ballot is entitled to have their ballot considered just the same that anybody else’s ballot is,” he said.
Election officials have also said they wouldn’t count a vote for “Lisa” or “Lisa M.” in Ms. Murkowski’s favor. When asked to comment on that, Mr. McKeever said, “We have not gotten any indication from the Division of Elections about the standards they’re going to apply, but we expect that they’ll comply with Alaska law.”
Rick Hasen, an election-law expert at Loyola Law School, said states typically interpret election rules so they maximize the chances voter intent is considered. Alaska, in particular, “has generally taken the view that statutes should be liberally construed,” he said.