From Sean Cockerham in Juneau --
Update, 5:30 p.m.
The Division of Elections just finished reviewing write-in ballots for the day and has now gone through 72 percent of the precincts in Alaska.
The results haven't changed much: Nearly 98 percent of the write-ins are going to Lisa Murkowski. Over 90 percent of Murkowski's votes are unchallenged, as Joe Miller's observers made fewer challenges today than previous days.
The Miller campaign has successfully challenged just 1.5 percent of the 69,249 write-in ballots that have been reviewed.
It looks as though the Miller campaign needs to disqualify 12 percent of the write-in votes for Murkowski in order to win the election. And that's not happening. Even if Miller's lawsuit to toss out the misspelled votes succeeds, Murkowski could still wind up with enough votes to win.
Update, 2:20 p.m.
Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney said he likes the results of the count but doesn't plan on claiming victory before Nov. 17. "I think that it's fair to Alaskan voters for every vote to be counted before one side claims victory," Sweeney said.
The review of write-in ballots will continue through the weekend, with absentee counts next week. All Absentee ballots had to be postmarked by election day but have until Nov. 17 to arrive.
The Murkowski camp is obviously confident.
Ben Ginsberg, the election law expert flown up by Murkowski to advise on the count, told me that he's going home tonight.
"This is in good hands and the outcome looks pretty obvious," said Ginsberg, a top lawyer for George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount.
The Miller team strongly disagrees with that, and hopes its lawsuit to toss out misspelled ballots will turn things around.
But there have been fewer ballot challenges by the Miller campaign so far today than we've seen the past couple of days.
There had been lot of Murkowski complaints that perfectly spelled ballots were being challenged and Murkowski observers said they are seeing less of that happening today (although it is still happening, I just saw some examples.)
Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto said there was no message to observers to challenge fewer ballots. He suggested that the fewer challenges seen this morning could be just a coincidence, rather than a trend that will continue.
The review of write-in ballots continues to go Lisa Murkowski's way with nearly 57 percent of the precincts counted.
Murkowski is still getting almost 98 percent of the write-ins.
More than 90 percent are unchallenged for her. The Miller campaign challenged an additional 7.7 percent of Murkowski votes, but was overruled by Elections Director Gail Fenumiai. Those are "counted but challenged" and could go to court.
It appears as though the Miller campaign needs to disqualify 12 percent of the write-in votes for Murkowski in order to win the election, and that's not happening so far.
The Miller campaign's ballot observers have successfully challenged 1.48 percent of the 56,088 write-in ballots reviewed.