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Scores File To Run As Write-Ins In Alaska Senate Race

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Scores File To Run As Write-Ins In Alaska Senate Race

Scores File To Run As Write-Ins In Alaska Senate Race

Scores File To Run As Write-Ins In Alaska Senate Race

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At least 100 Alaskans filed papers this week to run as write-in candidates for U.S. Senate. This is in addition to the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian candidates already on the ballot, and incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski who is running a write-in campaign. Confused?

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The U.S. Senate race in Alaska has been thrown into turmoil by a list. The state elections division wants to provide voters with a printout of the names of candidates who aren't on the ballot but who are running as write-ins. It's the first time the state has ever provided such a list, and many Alaskans believe it's really an effort to help incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski, who lost the Republican primary and is running for reelection as a write-in.

NPR's Martin Kaste reports on the controversy and the protests that erupted yesterday afternoon.

MARTIN KASTE: Anger over the write-in list hit full boil yesterday on the popular radio show hosted by conservative Dan Fagan.

(Soundbite of radio broadcast)

Mr. DAN FAGAN (Radio Talk Show Host): All right, 522-0750. Here's what we're doing. We're sticking it to the man.

KASTE: Fagan called on his listeners to rush down to the elections office and sign up to be write-in candidates. He hoped to confuse matters by filling up the hated list with other names - preferably names similar to Senator Lisa Murkowski's.

(Soundbite of radio broadcast)

Mr. FAGAN: Oh, I got a Lisa now. Hold on. Lisa. Hi, Lisa.

LISA: Hi, Dan. I'm Lisa Enlaki(ph), and I'm going to go head down there right now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. FAGAN: How do you spell your last name?

LISA: Well, my middle initial is M.

Mr. FAGAN: And you're going to put M there?

LISA: I'm going to put M.

Mr. FAGAN: Oh, Lisa...

LISA: And then my last name, so...

Mr. FAGAN: ...you are a patriot.

KASTE: The result was a crush of people at the Anchorage elections office right before closing time. At last count, 147 people are now running as write-in candidates for U.S. Senate.

Irma Douget(ph) is one of them.

Ms. IRMA DOUGET: If they provide this information at the polls on any write-in candidate, they got to put us all on there and let them deal with it.

KASTE: Douget supports Joe Miller, the official Republican nominee who has Tea Party backing.

Steve Wackowski, spokesman for Lisa Murkowski's campaign, doesn't think much of yesterday's surge of new write-in candidates.

Mr. STEVE WACKOWSKI (Spokesman for Lisa Murkowski): I just think it's really unfortunate that people, you know, Miller supporters would be trying to clutter the process for people that, you know, quite frankly, may need and ask for assistance. And, you know, it's federal law - the Federal Voting Assistance Act that people are entitled to assistance should they ask.

KASTE: The Alaska Supreme Court is hearing arguments today on the legality of the write-in list.

Martin Kaste, NPR News.

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