An Alaska federal judge ruled Friday that Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller’s challenge to the counting of write-in ballots raises “serious” legal issues but is a matter for a state, not federal, court to decide.
Yet in deferring to an Alaska state court for a final decision, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline said he would grant a temporary injunction to halt official certification of the Nov. 2 election — an action Miller is seeking — so long as Miller takes his case to the state court by Monday.
Beistline’s unusual action was intended to “ensure that these serious state law issues are resolved prior to certification of the election,” the ruling said.
Miller’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. An attorney for the state also didn’t immediately comment.
Miller sued in federal court in a bid to seek to stop the state from using discretion in determining voter intent on write-in ballots cast for his election rival, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who declared victory in the race Wednesday. She mounted the write-in campaign after losing to Miller in the GOP primary.