Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Brad Friedman: Federal Judge Rules for Miller

Federal Judge Rules for Miller, Temporarily Halts Certification of Murkowski in AK Senate Race

by Brad Friedmanon 11/20/2010 7:54pm

Question of misspelled write-in ballots belongs in state court, says judge...

Via Huffington Post...

JUNEAU, Alaska — An Alaska federal judge ruled Friday that Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller's challenge to the counting of write-in ballots raises "serious" legal issues but is a matter for a state, not federal, court to decide.

Yet in deferring to an Alaska state court for a final decision, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline said he would grant a temporary injunction to halt official certification of the Nov. 2 election – an action Miller is seeking – so long as Miller takes his case to the state court by Monday. Miller told The Associated Press late Friday that he intended to do so.

Beistline's unusual action was intended to "ensure that these serious state law issues are resolved prior to certification of the election," the ruling said.

See HuffPo for more details on the ruling. Miller's campaign has issued a brief statement here.

And see The BRAD BLOG's detailed analysis from Wednesday explaining why, in our opinion, Miller would be wise to call for a full, transparent hand-count and reconciliation of all ballots cast in Alaska's U.S. Senate election.

Earlier this week AP called the election in favor of incumbent Republican write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski. But, as we described, there are a number of reasons --- including Alaska's recent history of impossible election results as reported by their flawed, oft-failed, easily-manipulated and non-transparent Diebold optical-scan system --- which suggest that Miller would be performing a service to the voters of Alaska and the rest of the country if he used his standing to insist on a full, public hand-count. By the way, Democratic candidate Scott McAdams would be performing a similar service if he used his standing to join Miller in that pursuit...

As to the judge's Friday ruling, the Alaska statute in question in that particular law suit says that write-in ballots may only be counted if the candidate's name is spelled exactly as it is written. As we reported in our analysis on Wednesday:

Miller has filed a lawsuit charging that state law was violated when ballots that included misspellings of Murkowski's name were counted for her nonetheless. Alaska's state law for counting ballots (AS 15.15.360) requires that at least the last name of write-in candidates be written "as it appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy" on the ballot. The rules as spelled out in the statutes are "mandatory and there are no exceptions to them". They further specify that "A ballot may not be counted unless marked in compliance with these rules." Case law, however, as interpreted by the courts going back as far as 1998 has reportedly allowed a more liberal "voter intent" basis for determining the validity of write-in ballots. Miller's suit, charging the [Alaska Division of Elections] violated the rule of law is still pending.

That said, even if every one of the ballots currently challenged by Miller (approximately 8,000 of them) in the manual examination of write-in ballots were to be decided in his favor, Murkowski would still lead in the three-way race by some 2,000 votes. But that is under the presumption that the rest of the votes as counted (approximately 250,000 in total) were accurately tallied by the Diebold e-voting system.

Our Wednesday article detailed why that is not necessarily a safe assumption and why it is that lingering doubts about a race like this is anything but healthy for our democracy.

*************


Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Rightwing Populism Will Make You Sick—Really

The four countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 infections in the world are all led by rightwing populists: the US, India, Brazil, and Russia. Throw in the United Kingdom, which has the largest infection rate in Europe, and you have a common pattern. ... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Early Voting Is OK, If You Know Who To Vote For

Early voting is now open which is great for the 80% or so of the population whose vote does not change from one election to the next. They can go out and vote at their convenience without having to wait for election day. But for those who are yet even ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog