Miller Campaign Complies with Federal Court Order and Files Suit in State Court
Anchorage, Alaska. November 22, 2010 - Today, the Joe Miller campaign filed suit in state court as directed by federal U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline. Judge Beistline ruled on Friday that the Miller campaign had raised "serious constitutional questions" regarding the manner in which the state handled the ballot counting, and ordered a stay of certification of the election because those questions implicated "serious state law issues."
The lawsuit presents most of the same issues that were before Judge Beistline. Specifically, because state law forbids the counting of write-in votes that do not match the name of the candidate as set forth in the candidate's declaration form, and because the state legislature declared that there will be "no exceptions" to this law, the Miller Campaign is challenging the Division of Elections arbitrary decision to ignore this statute. Under the federal Constitution, only the state legislature can establish the voting standards for a senatorial election, and the state judiciary and state executive branch are prohibited, under the Elections Clause, from tampering with the legislative mandates. Nevertheless, the state ignored the legislative statute and instead came up with its own regulations, regulations that have never been applied in 50 years of statewide elections.
Campaign spokesperson, Randy DeSoto said that, "The state of Alaska successfully argued to the Alaska Supreme Court that a voter list had to be provided at each precinct because if the write-in votes were not spelled correctly, the ballot would not be counted. Now, after the election, the state is taking a different position, claiming the law does not really say what the state told the Alaska Supreme Court it did. This duplicity does not speak well for the Division of Elections."
Joe Miller said, "We have consistently stated that the rule of law has to be followed. The state of Alaska, through its elections division, must respect the law enacted by the legislature. It is not enough that the Lt. Governor personally does not like the law. It is the law until it is amended or repealed by the legislature, and the failure to follow state law shocks the conscience of every voter who thought their vote would be counted in accord with law." Miller added, "State law is not a lunch menu where the Lt. Governor can pick and choose which laws he likes and will follow and which ones he doesn't like. Deliberate indifference to the law cannot be condoned."
Campaign Chief Counsel, Thomas Van Flein, further noted that "we have also raised substantive and procedural concerns arising out of the state's creation of a new voting regulation that was never publicized, never vetted for public input, and completely lacked an enabling statute. Under the state Administrative Procedure Act, the regulation should be declared invalid, and that is what the Complaint is seeking."