Governor signs voter-intent bill into law

May 18, 2011 

JUNEAU -- Gov. Sean Parnell has signed into law a bill allowing the state to use discretion in counting write-in ballots.

The law, set to take effect in August, is the result of last year's U.S. Senate race. That race was ultimately decided in the courts.

Seeking to avoid a repeat, lawmakers proposed and passed legislation that would allow a state election official to use discretion in determining voter intent. That means ballots with minor misspellings could be counted toward a candidate's tally.

State officials, citing case law, used discretion in counting ballots for Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski mounted an unprecedented write-in campaign after losing her primary to Joe Miller.

Miller argued the law called for ballots to have a candidate's last name or name as it appears on the declaration of candidacy.

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