SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Court Rules in Favor of State and Murkowski;
Miller Seeks Appellate Review



December 13, 2010

(SitNews) - Alaska Superior Court Judge William Carey of Ketchikan on Friday decided in favor of the Alaska Division of Elections, and re-affirmed the state’s practice of determining “voter intent” on write-in ballots - thus ruling in favor of the state and against Joe Miller in his challenge of the election for U.S. Senate. The ruling confirms the State’s final unofficial results that gave Senator Lisa Murkowski a victory by more than 10,000 votes. Superior Court Judge William B. Carey

Today, the Joe Miller for U.S. Senate Campaign filed its Notice of Appeal of Friday's decision with the Alaska Supreme Court. The Court has issued an expedited briefing schedule, whereby Miller's opening brief is due Tuesday, and the State's opposition brief will be due on Wednesday. Oral argument on the appeal is scheduled for Friday December 17, 2010. Joe Miller is appealing portions of Judge Carey's ruling, including the ruling that essentially modifies state law that previously required write-in ballots to match the candidate's declaration form, but now, after Judge Carey's ruling, such ballots will be counted as long as an unelected bureaucrat believes he or she can determine or guess what a voter intended. 

Regarding today's appeal Miller said, "We have consistently asserted that the law should be followed strictly. The fact that the legislature stated that there should be "no exceptions" to the ballot counting method is what, in our view, should govern this matter. Under the current ruling, there are now over 8,000 exceptions, a result everyone who favors the rule of law should question."

Of Friday's decision, Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell said in a prepared statement, “I am pleased to see such a decisive ruling. [Friday’s] decision moves the Division of Elections closer to certifying this election so that Alaskans can have representation in the U.S. Senate. I trust that any appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court and the two cases now pending in federal court will be resolved in a timely manner."

Treadwell said, “The most important decision is the one made by the voters on November 2 and the job of our Elections Division is to make sure the voters’ will is carried out.”

Friday the State asked Federal Judge Ralph Beistline to lift his stay of certification of the election, while Mr. Miller pursues his appeals. The Murkowski campaign also filed a motion to enjoin the state’s motion and also requested the certification’s stay be lifted and the case be expedited.

The State has recognized that Miller is attempting to delay certification of the race by any means necessary, including new accusations that convicted felons were wrongfully allowed to vote, an accusation strongly disputed by the State.

“We anticipated [Friday's] decision,” said Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney. “We agree with the State of Alaska that Joe is now simply trying to prevent Senator Murkowski from being seated on January 5th.”

Sweeney added. “We continue to believe that because Alaska case law is so strong on this issue the federal courts will decide as quickly as Judge Carey did. We hope it is becoming clear to Alaskans, even former supporters of Mr. Miller, that his campaign to disenfranchise Alaska’s voters is entirely self indulgent, and now risks Alaska’s representation in the Senate. We again appeal to Mr. Miller to live up to his promise of not continuing with a legal challenge if the votes don’t add up now that it is clear he has lost the election by more than 10,000 votes.”

In response to the state superior court's ruling Friday, Joe Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto said in a prepared statement, "The purpose of the legal action is to ensure that the integrity of the vote is upheld. The Miller Campaign believes that every valid write-in ballot should be counted, but not those that fail to meet the standard established by the state legislature. Additionally, the core American values of equal protection under the law and fundamental fairness in this election require that the Miller ballots are counted and reviewed in the same fashion as Lisa Murkowski's, by hand, and that the count includes only those who are eligible to vote. When we've ensured that these issues have been addressed, then we'll have an accurate count, and if Lisa Murkowski's tally is greater than Joe's, then he will certainly honor that result."

Regarding today's filing of the Notice of Appeal of Friday's decision with the Alaska Supreme Court, Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto said, "In order to get a fair and accurate count we need a hand review and count of Joe's ballots. Lisa Murkowski's were reviewed and counted in this fashion, but Miller ballots not tallied by the voting machines--due to the ballot not being filled out properly--are not included in his count. With over 255,000 ballots cast (and a less than 1% difference separating Miller and Murkowski in the unchallenged count), this number could be significant. Additionally, we have sworn statements of machines in various precincts not functioning properly. Equal protection under the law requires that Miller's ballots be counted in the same fashion as Murkowski's, by hand."


Sources of News:

Murkowski Campaign

Miller Campagin

Office of the Lt. Governor of Alaska


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