Last week, an Alaska judge ruled against Joe Miller in his suit over the Alaska Senate race. But Miller isn’t letting a little thing like that stop him from continuing his fight, and yesterday he filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court.
The Associated Press reported that Miller filed an appeal today, and arguments are now set for Friday.
In a press release sent out yesterday afternoon, the Miller campaign said that it is appealing because the ruling “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.”
“We have consistently asserted that the law should be followed strictly,” Miller said of the decision. “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.”
Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto additionally called for a hand count of Miller’s ballots, arguing that it’s is only fair because Murkowski’s were counted by hand, while Miller’s were counted by machine that occasionally reject ballots because of stray marks or improperly-filled ovals. “Equal protection under the law requires that Miller’s ballots be counted in the same fashion as Murkowski’s, by hand,” DeSoto said.
DeSoto said rather ominously last week that the campaign has raised enough money to take the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Of course if it becomes protracted there would be more fundraising that would occur,” he told McClatchy.
In his ruling handed down last Friday, State Superior Court Judge William Carey rejected all of Miller’s arguments in his suit against the state, including his claim that the Alaska Division of Elections broke the law when it counted misspelled write-in ballots as votes for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and several allegations of voter fraud.
“Nowhere does Miller provide facts showing a genuine issue of fraud or election official malfeasance,” Carey wrote in his ruling. “Instead, the majority of the problematic statements included in the affidavits are inadmissible hearsay, speculation and occasional complaints of sarcasm expressed by [Division of Elections] workers.”
He also wrote that the state was not breaking the law by attempting to discern “voter intent” when examining the ballots. “In interpreting statutes in election law contexts, the Alaska Supreme Court has emphasized the importance of giving effect to the will of the people as expressed in the exercise of their vote,” Carey wrote.
“If exact spellings were intended by the legislature,” he said, “even with respect to the most difficult names, the legislature could have and would have said so.”
Read the full ruling here in .pdf form.
Federal Judge Ralph Beistline had blocked the state from certifying the results for Murkowski until the state ruled. The new session of the Senate kicks off January 5th, and the state is now asking that the injunction be lifted so Murkowski doesn’t lose her seniority. Miller has contended that seniority is not an issue: “I don’t think anybody’s actually proven there’s gonna be adverse impact” if Murkowski isn’t seated on time.