Joe Miller Won’t Go Away

Joe Miller lost the Alaska Senate election by more than 10,000 votes but he's still fighting.

Joe Miller lost the Alaska Senate election by more than 10,000 votes but he’s still fighting.  Anchorage Daily News:

Miller filed his appeal Monday, three days after a lower court ruled against his lawsuit challenging how the state counted write-in ballots for his rival, Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Arguments are set for Friday.

“We have consistently asserted that the law should be followed strictly,” Miller said in a statement. “The fact that the legislature stated that there should be ‘no exceptions’ to the ballot counting method is what, in our view, should govern this matter.”

Murkowski ran a write-in campaign, the likes of which Alaska has never seen, after losing the GOP primary to Miller. The state, relying on case law, used discretion in determining voter intent, allowing for ballots with misspellings to be counted toward Murkowski’s tally.

Unofficial results showed Murkowski leading Miller by 10,328 votes, or 2,169 votes when ballots challenged by Miller’s campaign were excluded. Murkowski has declared victory.

But Miller and his attorneys argued that the law calls for write-in ballots to have the ballot oval filled and either the candidate’s last name or the name as it appears on the declaration of candidacy written. Spelling, they contended, matters.

I’m sympathetic to both the “follow the strict letter of the law” and “voter intent matters” schools of thought, contradictory though they may be.  But, in this case, there’s simply no issue:  Murkowski wins handily even excluding every ballot challenged by the Miller campaign.  This is an unseemly boondoggle and must end.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Law and the Courts, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Has there been any polling to see if this is affecting Joe Miller’s popularity with Alaska voters? I’m curious as to whether his intransigence is making him more popular or less popular with both the Republican base and the general electorate in the state.

  2. tom p says:

    “I’m curious as to whether his intransigence is making him more popular or less popular with both the Republican base…. ”

    remembering that it was the Republican base that threw Murkowski to the curb….

  3. There’s been some talk of Miller challenging Don Young for Alaska’s at-large House seat in 2012. If he keeps this up, he’s going to seriously annoy most of the AK Republican Party if he hasn’t already