Federal Judge Halts Alaska Vote Certification

Posted November 20, 2010 at 11:48am

An Alaska federal judge granted a temporary injunction Friday to halt the certification of the Senate results, deferring to state court to rule on the standard for counting write-in ballots, the Associated Press reported.

Down more than 10,000 votes to Sen. Lisa Murkowski after all ballots were counted, Republican Joe Miller filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court requesting the injunction.

Miller argued that state law requires a write-in candidate’s name to be written exactly as it appears on the declaration, but the state Division of Elections counted votes for Murkowski even if her name was misspelled, as long as it was clear for whom the voter intended to vote.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline said his decision to defer to state court would “ensure that these serious state law issues are resolved prior to certification of the election,” according to the AP.

“I am gratified to have Judge Beistline recognize that we have raised vital questions concerning the ballot review in this election,” Miller said in a statement. “It is critical that these issues be resolved not only for this election, but for future ones in Alaska, as well.”

Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney told the AP that Murkowski has won and is “already back at work and focused on representing all Alaskans for the next six years.”