Court Holds Hearing, Postpones Ruling on Murkowski Intervention in Miller Lawsuit
Juneau, Alaska. December 1, 2010 -- Alaska Superior Court Judge William Carey held a hearing today on Lisa Murkowski's motion to intervene in the lawsuit brought by Joe Miller, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, challenging the legality of the process the Division of Elections used to count write-in ballots, as well as several other discrepancies and improprieties in the 2010 general election for U.S. Senate.
Because of serious questions concerning whether Ms. Murkowski's legal interests are being adequately protected by the State, the court deferred ruling on the motion until tomorrow, and directed Ms. Murkowski's attorneys to file a supplemental pleading. Murkowski's attorneys argued that the State improperly rejected certain ballots-estimates ranged from a few hundred to approximately two thousand-that, they maintained, should have been counted for her.
"Murkowski has called into question even more write-in ballots cast in this election, further undermining the public's ability to have any confidence in the Division of Election's initial vote count. Even my opponent contends that the Division has failed to comply with Alaska law." said Joe Miller.
Michael T. Morley, a Washington D.C. appellate and election law attorney representing Miller, explained, "The fact that the Murkowski campaign is now attempting to argue that a few hundred additional ballots should have been counted for her simply underscores how close this election remains, and how worried her campaign is that the court will invalidate the Division's improper count."
Commenting on the court's postponement of a decision on Murkowski's intervention motion, Morley commented, "Sen. Murkowski has not met the legal requirements for intervention set forth by the Alaska Supreme Court, particularly in a case such as this where the State is defending the legality of its own sovereign acts."
He pointed out that a potential intervenor must show that the State has colluded with the other side, has a conflict of interest, is refusing to do its job, or is not competent to proceed. No such allegations have even been made in this case."
Miller emphasized, "Regardless of whether Ms. Murkowski is permitted to intervene, we are confident that the court will enforce Alaska law as written, invalidate the State's illegal initial count, and require that every ballot be hand-counted in accordance with state law."