Murkowski Granted Intervener Status in Miller Case

Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau

Senator Lisa Murkowski is now part of the lawsuit filed against the state over the counting of write-in ballots.

Ketchikan Superior Court Judge William Carey has granted intervener status to Murkowski. During a court hearing Wednesday, Carey questioned whether Murkowski truly had an interest in the case that Republican nominee Joe Miller filed against the State Division of Elections. Miller is challenging the criteria used for counting write-in ballots apparently cast Nov. 2 for Murkowski, his opponent in the U.S. Senate race.

In the five-page opinion issued Thursday morning, Judge Carey reiterated his earlier skepticism with Murkowski’s legal interest in the lawsuit. But he seemed satisfied with an additional pleading made overnight by a Murkowski lawyer, which highlighted 2,016 write-in votes that Election workers did not count. One of the criteria for intervener status would be a so-called “adversity of interest” between the state and another party like Murkowski.

Judge Carey has expedited consideration of the case. Arguments are scheduled for next Wednesday in Juneau Superior Court. He plans to issue a decision by the following day.

The case will likely be appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court. It will then go back to federal District Court before election results for the Senate race can be certified and a Senator is sworn in next month.

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