Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Fairbanks judge Douglas Blankenship ruled this afternoon that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller’s lawsuit against the state division of elections should be heard in Juneau. Blankenship said it’s too inconvenient for the state to be involved in a case in Fairbanks. Blankenship did not decide whether Senator Lisa Murkowski could intervene in the case. Miller had this reaction to the latest chapter in the fight over Alaska’s Senate campaign.
Miller filed his case in Fairbanks, and said he had wanted the case to be heard there for a variety of reasons.
Miller’s suit alleges state elections officials broke Alaska law by accepting some write-in ballots that had rival candidate Murkowski’s name misspelled on them. Lieutenant Governor Craig Campbell and the State Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai, have stated that voter intent is the driving factor in accepting a write in ballot as valid.
Murkowski has declared victory in her write in campaign with a 10,328-vote lead over Miller, a total that includes 8,159 ballots contested by Miller’s observers. But Miller says he thinks he can pick up some extra votes if the courts side with him.
Miller is seeking to block certification of the general election, which elections officials had hoped to certify today. Miller told reporters in Fairbanks Monday that he wants a recount.
Miller is also contesting Murkowski’s intervention in the suit. Attorneys for Miller says only the state can deal with enforcement of state law.
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