Alaska Supreme Court dismisses challenge to midterm election results

[JURIST] The Alaska Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday dismissed [opinion, PDF] an election challenged filed by Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller [campaign website], allowing certification of the November results to move forward. Miller claimed that errors in the counting of election ballots and voter registration led to the write-in victory of his rival Senator Lisa Murkowski [campaign website]. Affirming a lower court decision, the Supreme Court held that abbreviations, misspellings or other variations in the write-in candidate's name is allowed as long as the voter's intention can be ascertained:

Joe Miller seeks an interpretation of election statute AS 15.15.360 that would disqualify any write-in votes that misspell the candidate's name. We do not interpret the statute to require perfection in the manner that the candidate's name is written on the ballot. Our prior decisions clearly hold that a voter's intention is paramount.
The Supreme Court gave Miller until Monday to decide on whether he will back Murkowski or pursue the claim in federal court. Members of Congress will be sworn in when the new term begins January 5.

The lawsuit follows the close 2010 midterm election results between Senate incumbent Lisa Murkowski and Republican candidate Joe Miller. According to the State of Alaska Division of Elections [official website], Murkowski leads [unofficial results] with over 100,000 write-in votes in comparison to 90,740 votes for Miller. Earlier this month, Superior Court Judge William B. Carey upheld the division of election's actions, striking down Miller's challenge to the election results. In November, a federal judge halted certification [AP report] of the election results pending the Supreme Court's decision.

 

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