The elections division won't be able to break the law on behalf of Princess Lisa. A judge ruled this morning that the division has to follow established law and not provide Murkowski's name to voters requesting information on how to cast a write-in vote.
The division and Murkowski's campaign had argued that "It is the mission of the Division of Elections to assist voters to effectively express their political will at the ballot box," but apparently only if they want to "effectively express their political will" on behalf of Lisa Murkowski. The elections division had never provided lists of write-in candidates' names in previous elections, and state election law in fact precluded it. Which is what the judge determined in granting the restraining order [pdf]:
For the first time in the election history of the State of Alaska, the Division of Elections has provided a list of the names, party affiliations, and the registration status of write-in candidates to each polling place in the state. The actions of the Division are in clear violation of an Alaska administration regulation. Plaintiff Alaska Democratic Party and intervenor Alaska Republican Party have clearly shown that they will probably succeed on the merits of their claims. Pursuant to Alaska R. Civ. P. 65, the court hereby grants a temporary restraining order enjoining the Division from allowing election workers and polling place workers to post write-in candidate names, to provide a list of write-in candidate names to voters, or to provide verbally the names of write-in candidates to voters at any place within 200 feet of a polling place for the November, 2010, general election.
The state Dems respond (via e-mail):
“The judge has clearly ruled that the law should be upheld, and Alaska voters deserve a fair and legal election,” said Patti Higgins, Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party. “The court’s ruling ensures that the Division of Elections and the State of Alaska cannot give special treatment to any write-in candidate.”
Tom Daniel, the attorney representing the ADP, said, “The judge clearly indicated the Division of Elections violated its own regulation and its long-standing practice regarding write-in votes.”
What an interesting role reversal on this one. On behalf of Murkowski, the state was willing to ignore its own laws, and the Republicans, on behalf of Joe Miller of all people, actually joined with the Dems in arguing for the rule of law. It's a hell of an election they've got going up there.
This is a very good development for Scott McAdams. His major opposition--Murkowski--didn't succeed in gaming the system and has to play by the rules. So the guy on the actual ballot has a better chance of getting the votes of fence-sitters.