Senate Race Certification Put On Hold

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The outcome of Alaska’s U.S. Senate race is in question again. Republican candidate Joe Miller filed a lawsuit in state court Monday, alleging that elections officials broke state law in the way in which they counted write-in ballots.

The latest legal challenge comes as a result of a federal court judge’s order.  Judge Ralph Beistline refused to hear Miller’s complaint against Alaska Lieutenant Governor Craig Campbell and the state division of elections in federal court last week.  Beistline said it was a state matter, but did order the certification of Alaska’s Senate race halted if Miller were to file a lawsuit in state court by today.

Beistline said the results of the race should not be certified until the legal issues raised have been fully resolved.

Miller’s suit claims the state divisions of elections has not correctly interpreted state election law by accepting write in ballots that had misspelled candidates names on them

But, Lt. Governor Campbell says voter intent drives ballot acceptance.  Elections officials accepted ballots with misspellings of write in candidate’s Lisa Murkowski’s name.

Judge Beistline has issued a temporary injunction against certification until the dispute is settled in court.   The division of elections wants to certify the Senate election by Nov. 29.

Beistline says Miller raises serious issues about state election law, because Alaska law says a write-in candidate’s  name must appear on the ballot as it is spelled on the declaration of candidacy.

Lisa Murkowski has claimed victory in the election. The Republican Party of Alaska has urged Miller to concede.

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