JUNEAU, Alaska — The state Supreme Court finally made its decision regarding Joe Miller’s challenge against the Division of Election.
In its 24 page decision, the Alaska Supreme Court justices emphasize repeatedly voter intent is of utmost importance.
The court writes "Miller's interpretation of the statue that would erode the integrity of the election system because it would result in disenfranchisement of some voters and ultimately rejection of elections results..."
The justices agree with the state and Lisa Murkowski that the Division of Elections correctly counted votes.
The court writes, "We hold that abbreviations, misspellings, or other minor variations will be disregarded so long as the intention of the voter can be ascertained."
“While we anticipated this decision, it’s gratifying to see the Supreme Court rule the way they did today. It's a win not only for Sen. Murkowski and her campaign, it’s really a win for the people of Alaska,” said Murkowski Campaign Manager Kevin Sweeney.
As for the Miller legal team's allegations of inaccuracies and inconsistency throughout the vote counting process, the justices write, "We conclude that the division's methodology gave all of the ballots - as well as the candidates equal treatment."
But Miller says the law is not clear, "When the legislature imposes a high threshold on a write-in candidate that we believe that high threshold ought to be followed."
Attorneys for Murkowski wanted the justices to go a step farther and count write-in votes where the bubble was not filled in.
The justices disagree.
Nonetheless, Murkowski has enough votes to win.
“I think the most important thing here is this; the law says that voter intent should prevail,” said Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.
The Murkowski camp agrees "Some Alaskans were not raised with english as their first language. Some Alaskans who speak english do not write it as well. Some Alaskans have physical or learning disabilities that hinder their ability to write clearly or spell correctly. Yet none of these issues should take away a voter's right to decide which candidate to elect to governs" says campaign manager Kevin Sweeney.
Treadwell is now asking Federal Judge Ralph Beistline to lift the stay he imposed while the case worked its way through state courts so that the election can be certified.Treadwell says he hopes to have the certification paperwork signed and sent off to the U.S. Senate sometime between Christmas and New Year’s.
Senator Lisa Murkowski now waits for the race to be certified, and hopes Miller will stop his fight.
"For the people of Alaska I would hope that we can declare this election officially over i think the courts at the superior court level and now the ak supreme court level have concluded it is over3641and again there is noting left to prevent this election from being certified."
But Joe Miller hasn't conceded yet.
"We disagree with the courts interpretation of the election code but we do respect both rule of law and the courts place and the what we're doing now is we're studying the decision and we're carefully considering our options."
A federal judge has blocked certification of the election results and Miller has until Monday to appeal to that judge.