Alaska Supreme Court rules against Miller
December 22nd, 2010
05:35 PM ET
12 years ago

Alaska Supreme Court rules against Miller

(CNN) – The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled against Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller in his appeal, denying his claim that state law was not followed on counting write-in votes and setting up the very likely scenario that write-in candidate, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, will be certified the winner of the Alaska Senate race.

In the ruling, the Alaska Supreme court affirmed the decision of the superior court, saying, “There are no remaining issues raised by Miller that prevent this election from being certified.”

A spokesman for Miller’s campaign said they were “disappointed” with the decision and are “weighing our options.”

"We are disappointed the Alaska Supreme Court has ignored the plain text of Alaska law and allowed the Division of Elections to effectively amend the state election code without even giving the public an opportunity for notice and comment,” Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto said in a statement.

“We are reviewing the court's ruling and will be weighing our options."

Miller last week filed to appeal a ruling by an Alaska superior court judge which denied his challenge of ballots awarded to Murkowski, who ran as a write-in candidate.

But the Alaska Supreme Court ruling does not mean the election will be certified immediately. First, a federal judge must lift his ban on the certification of Murkowski as the winner. That judge has not allowed any certification until Miller's challenges have gone through Alaska's courts.

If the Alaska Supreme Court decision did not turn out in its favor, Miller's campaign earlier told CNN it's considering taking the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said in an email to CNN that the state is planning to move forward to ask the judge to lift the injunction on certifying the election.

But, she said, they are waiting to see if Miller chooses new choose to file a suit in federal court appealing the Alaska Supreme Court decision. Fenumiai said that Miller has until 9:00 am Alaska time on Monday to file.

A spokesman for Murkowski said the campaign is “elated” by the decision.

“We anticipated today’s decision by the Supreme Court, but are elated nonetheless,” Murkowski spokesman Kevin Sweeney said in a statement. “We expect that Judge Beistline will lift his stay of certification next week and the state can move forward in certifying the election for Senator Murkowski. We also anticipate that Joe [Miller] will continue to pursue his baseless claims in federal court until his money runs out.”

After the election, Miller filed a challenge against the Division of Elections to ensure the state law, which calls for write-in votes to match the name of the candidate, was followed. He has argued that Alaska law does not allow the counting of misspelled names on write-in ballots. However, the Division of Elections set guidelines before counting began that allowed for a voter's intent to be considered when determining whether to count a ballot for a write-in candidate.

Murkowski launched a write-in bid following her loss to Miller, a Tea Party favorite, in the state's August 24th primary.

In the original superior court decisions, a judge ruled that Miller did not provide proof of election official fraud, or that "there would be a sufficient change to the election results if these claims were true."

Murkowski has already claimed victory in the race. The Associated Press called the race for Murkowski last month when she had a 10,328-vote lead over Miller, a figure that includes the 8,159 ballots contested by Miller observers. Not including those ballots, she has a 2,169-vote lead.

Miller has refused to concede despite the projections of Murkowski's win and calls from some Republican leaders asking him to end his bid.

–- CNN's Steve Brusk, Shannon Travis and Jillian Harding contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2010 • Alaska
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Tracy

    He stuck on stupid...

    December 22, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. southernbutnotstupid

    So much for a Tea Partier candidate who prefers the Constitution be followed and the will of the people be followed – here you have a Tea Partier favorite candidate who happens to be a lawyer trying to use any and all technicalities to overturn Murkowski's write-in win after she clearly received more votes totally than he did – just a sour right-wing loser–

    December 22, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  3. coloradoDem

    It makes u wonder if Palin is tellin him to keep trying. Nobody wants her but she wont go away either.

    December 22, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. Albo58

    Why doesn't Pricess Lisa change partys now? She votes lock step with the Democrats so it wouldn't be a tremendous leap!

    December 22, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  5. Gil

    Just think Sarah! Your arch enemy will be waiting for you and she is in office and you're a quitter. I hope she makes you life miserable like you're doing for so may of us. You Idiot!

    December 22, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. Death Panel Sarah

    Now, Joe will move to Minnesota, where he can tie things up for 5 months, instead of only 1.

    December 22, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  7. FlyReelMan

    Another present under Lisa M's tree!

    December 22, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. T'sah from Virginia

    Miller High Life – It's time to go home, the game is OVER!!!

    December 22, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  9. Stacey, Connecticut

    “We are reviewing the court's ruling and will be weighing our options."

    Really? You LOST Joe the Plum... I mean Joe the loser Miller! There are no options left for this loser. Thank goodness this idiot is not in th Senate.

    December 22, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  10. Bessy

    Hopefully this is now over and Miller can return all of the curtains, furniture he bought for his office in DC. Sarah Palin has left a sour taste in my mouth re: Alaska but I am proud of the folks in Alaska for not electing the idiot Miller.

    December 22, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Al

    GOOD! Send that man back to Alaska to have moose burgers withe the Palins.

    December 22, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
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