Contests 'vague voter intent' determinations, reliance on Diebold op-scan tallies on Constitutional grounds
But GOP candidate's decision to drop contest of Murkowski certification could prove fatal to overall case...
[Update 12/28/10: Federal judge dismisses Miller's complaint. Details now here...]
"We want the end result of this legal action to be for the people of Alaska to not only have full faith in the outcome of this race, but a confidence in the manner in which elections will be conducted in our state in the future," Alaska's "Tea Party"-supported, Sarah Palin-endorsed GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, Joe Miller said in a statement today calling for "fairness and transparency" in the election process, issued after filing an amended complaint in federal court. His statement concludes with the simple sentiment: "Election integrity is vital."
Miller has decided to press on in his election contest against the state's Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell and their Division of Elections (DoE), as overseen by Treadwell, by filing a Substitute Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief in U.S. District Court in Alaska today. The filing comes after resounding losses in state court and --- if the state's hand-count of write-in ballots and the Diebold optical-scanner tallies of all the other ballots are to be believed --- to Republican write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski in November's general election for the U.S. Senate. As the unofficial state count now stands, Murkowski reportedly defeated Miller (and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams) by more than 10,000 votes.
In the statement (posted in full at end of this article) Miller explains that his team has decided to forgo challenging Murkowski's official certification as the winner, allowing her to be seated in the U.S. Senate on January 5th.
"The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month." he said, "This decision will allow Alaskans to focus on bringing fairness and transparency to our elections process without distraction of the certification issue."
But Miller's decision to drop his challenge to Murkowski's seating may prove to be a fatal blow to his case --- at least if precedent set by Republicans in Congress some years ago, ironically enough, is any indication. But more on that below.
After winning the GOP nomination against Murkowski, and then reportedly losing to her unprecedented write-in bid in November, Miller originally filed his election contest in federal court in November. U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline subsequently responded by sending the case down to state court for initial adjudication on relevant issues of state law. Late last month, Beistline temporarily halted state certification of the race until those issues were decided, and last week the state's Supreme Court rejected Miller's appeal, siding with the state, on all counts.
Beistline had given Miller until today to re-file his amended complaint in federal court. His filing now includes just three counts asserting violations of the U.S. Constitution's "Election Clause" and "Equal Protection Clause" as based on both the DoE's liberal interpretation of state law in counting write-in ballots, as well as the disparate weight the hand-count of those ballots was afforded, versus those tallied by Diebold optical-scanners in the case of "pre-printed" candidates...
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