Judge Denies Joe Miller’s Request To Stop Counting Write-In Votes

November 10, 2010 3:32 pm

A federal judge has denied Joe Miller’s request for an injunction to stop the counting of Alaska Senate write-in ballots, ruling that Miller will not face irreparable injury if the count continues.

Miller filed a suit yesterday arguing that counting write-in ballots that misspell the candidate’s name is unconstitutional. He requested the injunction because he claimed that any count will cause him “irreparable injury, as both a candidate for U.S. Senate and a registered voter who cast a vote in the U.S. Senate race in this election, if Defendants are permitted to proceed with counting write-in ballots under an illegal standard.”U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline said that the 18-hour window for the state to respond to Miller’s 37-page complaint was “patently unfair,” and that there was no need for immediate action since elections officials are separating ballots with spelling errors for further review.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that Beistline wrote: “Given that the questionable ballots will remain segregated and subject to subsequent review with the results recorded separately, the Court finds no good reason to enjoin counting the ballots while the underlying Complaint is addressed in due course.”

Beistline gave both sides until November 17 and 18 to file briefs, but said he would not determine whether a hearing is necessary until then.

Late Update: Joe Miller sent out a statement in response to the ruling:

I am pleased the court will look at the issues we have raised. I would have liked the legal issues to have been resolved before there is a preliminary count, since the state cannot certify a winner until the court rules on the validity of the ballot counting process. So this will necessarily extend the actual final vote count until after November 18, as the vote count until then will be provisional.

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