Judge Dismisses Miller Suit

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage and Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Joe Miller’s bid for an election contest has been turned down by a federal court. U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline Tuesday afternoon dismissed Miller’s suit against the state division of elections, saying that the Republican candidate’s latest, amended complaint charging U.S. Constitutional violations of state election laws cannot trump the Alaska Supreme Court’s decision upholding voter intent.

Beistline threw out Miller’s complaint on both counts, that of the Constitution’s Election Clause, which puts the manner of conducting elections squarely on the shoulders of the state legislature, and on the Equal Protection Clause, which requires specific standards on the part of elections officials.   The judge said that the state election division’s manner of counting write-in ballots complies with the Alaska Supreme Court’s interpretation of the state’s statutory language.  And, Beistline said, the determination of challenged ballots was made by one individual, the director of elections, giving a uniform standard to the count. APRN reached Joe Miller at his Fairbanks office minutes after the decision was released, and asked him, what’s next?

A spokeswoman for the division of Elections says election officials are reviewing the judge’s decision and are withholding comment at this time.

Meanwhile, the state of Alaska plans to seek nearly $16,000 in legal fees from Joe Miller’s team over litigation surrounding the U.S. Senate race.  The Department of Law says its attorney fees related to Miller’s challenge in state Superior Court totaled $79,722.50. The department says it is allowed to recover 20 percent of the fees and is seeking $15,957.55.

For APRN’s full interview with Joe Miller, click here (MP3)

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