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Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller sued the state of Alaska on Monday over the way its Division of Elections counted write-in ballots in his race against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), the Associated Press reported.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court, but U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline ruled Friday that a state court must decide the matter. Beistline granted a temporary injunction that halted certification of the election and required Miller to file suit in state court by Monday.
The target date for certifying the election is Nov. 29, and a recount can then be requested by Dec. 4, the AP reported. The Miller campaign has said he wants a hand count after a court sets the standard for judging write-in ballots.
Murkowski launched a write-in bid after she lost the GOP primary to Miller. The AP called the race for her last week, after she amassed a 10,328-vote lead, including 8,159 ballots contested by Miller’s campaign.
Miller’s campaign alleges that the Division of Elections violated state law in its use of discretion in determining voter intent on write-in ballots. Miller argues that ballots need to spell “Lisa Murkowski” exactly as it appeared on her declaration of candidacy in order to qualify.