Wednesday, November 10, 2010
How do you spell Bush v. Gore?: Miller sues over ballot interpretations of Murkowski's name in Alaska Senate race
In a Complaint filed late yesterday in the Alaska District Court, United States Senate Candidate Joe Miller is seeking to exclude write-in ballots for incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski unless her name is spelled correctly. As background, there is good reporting from the Anchorage Daily News and a prediction of this lawsuit by Rick Hansen over at Election Law Blog.
Miller's Complaint states four claims for relief:
First, citing the Elections Clause, Article I section 4, cl 1, which provides that the "Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof," Miller argues that the state executive branch is usurping the power of the state legislative branch.
Second, relying on the Equal Protection Clause as interpreted in Bush v. Gore, Miller alleges that the state officials “quixotic quest” to determine the intent of the voter will result in the “arbitrary and disparate treatment of write-in ballots in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution.”
In counts three and four, Miller raises state law claims under the Alaska Election Code and the Alaska Administrative Procedure Act.
As in Bush v. Gore, the candidate who otherwise advocates "states rights" and disparages "federal activist judges" is asking a federal court to intervene and enjoin state officials from implementing their interpretation of state law.
Before the election, Miller filed a complaint with the FEC against Alaskans Standing Together, a PAC with Native Alaskan support that opposed his candicacy and supported Murkowski (as illustrated by the image above from its website). The PAC will undoubtedly be relying upon Citizens United v. FEC.