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Common sense in election laws

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Posted: Monday, January 31, 2011 4:54 pm

In its ruling on the election challenge by Joe Miller, the Alaska Supreme Court said, "Common sense statutory interpretations by agencies do not require regulations."

In a legislative hearing today, Sen. Joe Paskvan said he wants to ensure that "common sense and reasonableness" remain the key points in revising the election laws regarding write-in ballots.

The legislative proposal is to apply the regulatory language that now deals specifically with the federal write-in absentee ballot in Alaska to all ballots.

This language, which is already in federal law and a part of existing state regulation, says that any abbreviation, misspelling  or other minor variation will be disregarded "if the intention of the voter can be ascertained."

Paskvan said the court rejected the idea that perfection is the standard by which write-in ballots are judged. 

There will always be some degree of interpretation required to determine the validity of write-in ballots because handwriting requires interpretation.




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