Republican Joe Miller “said he won’t stand in the way of incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski being certified the winner of Alaska’s U.S. Senate race, but he vowed to continue his legal fight over the state’s handling of the vote count,” the AP reports.
Miller’s announcement late Sunday paves the way for Murkowski — a write-in candidate after losing the Republican nomination to Miller — to eventually be declared winner of the race.
Election officials determined Murkowski had the most votes in the November election but were barred from certifying a victory by a federal judge, who issued a stay to give the courts time to rule on Miller’s claims the vote count was mishandled.
Sunday’s decision means Miller won’t file any motions to stop the court from lifting the stay.
Miller said he wants to ensure Alaska has full representation when senators are sworn in for the new term of Congress on Jan. 5.
Miller contends the state violated the election and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution in its handling of the vote count.
The law calls for write-in ballots to have the ovals filled and the candidate’s last name or name as it appears on the declaration of candidacy written in. Miller believes the state should be held to a strict reading of that law, and his attorneys argued that spelling mattered.
The state, pointing to case law, used discretion in determining voter intent and allowed for ballots with misspellings to be counted toward Murkowski’s tally.
Attorneys for the state argued that Miller’s interpretation would disenfranchise voters. The state Supreme Court agreed and called voter intent "paramount."