Drama in Alaska Senate race heats up with lawsuit

Joe Miller

Joe Miller has filed a lawsuit to keep election officials from having any interpretative leeway in counting votes in the Alaska Senate race. Image: zieak/Flickr.com/CC-BY

Joe Miller has filed a lawsuit against the Lisa Murkowksi campaign. Miller is suing to keep the state from trying to interpret what the voter may have intended to write in the write-in candidate field. Prior to Miller filing suit, Alaskan officials have said they will make reasonable interpretations where appropriate. Joe Miller’s lawsuit is to keep officials from having any interpretative leeway whatsoever.

Lawsuit filed before final Alaska Senate race vote count

Joe Miller has filed for an injunction in Federal court ahead of the final vote count in the Alaska Senate race. The race has come down between Miller and incumbent Lisa Murkowski, who has been running as a write-in candidate. Miller’s suit concerns Alaskan election law, according to USA Today. The current law in Alaska is that an oval, indicating the choice of a write-in candidate, has to be filled in, and the name has to be written. The last name of the candidate, or the name of the candidate as it appears on the ballot have to be written. Names of official write-in candidates must be displayed in the booth. He is trying to cut any attempts to discern voter intent off at the pass.

Invoking infamous court case

Miller’s suit cites the infamous court case Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case which decided the 2000 election. Joe Miller, the Tea Party darling with the Sarah Palin endorsement, is alleging that the law in Alaska mandates names of candidates be spelled correctly. However, according to the Washington Post, Alaskan officials insist some room for interpretation exists, in that misspellings are acceptable if there is a clear intention of which candidate the voter was casting a ballot for.

Final countdown

The final vote count in the Alaska Senate race is one of the closest watched races in the 2010 election results. Murkowksi, if she does garner the most votes, will have upset the Tea Party in Sarah Palin’s home state. She also will be the first candidate since Strom Thurmond in 1954 to win on a write-in campaign.


Washington Post

USA Today

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