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Miller sues to get election records

Jill Burke

As promised, attorneys for Joe Miller filed a demand late Friday afternoon for access to election records from nearly three dozen communities around the state.

In the complaint -- filed in state court in Juneau -- Miller attorney Thomas Van Flein states the Miller campaign's desire to inspect the records is twofold: "...to count the number of signatures they contain, as well as to inspect the signatures themselves to ensure there was no possible fraud, mistake, irregularity, or inconsistency that could adversely impact the 2010 general election for U.S. Senator."

The campaign believes the Division of Elections' failure to make the records immediately accessible violates Miller's rights and jeopardizes a fair election. "Substantial harm to the public interest will occur if an incorrect election certification occurs," Van Flein wrote in his motion. "There is an imminent public interest and urgency in making sure the electoral process is managed fairly and consistently with the law. Inspection of these records is fundamental to ensuring it is done so."

The election is scheduled to be certified Nov. 29, and Miller wants access to the voter records within the next couple of days, either by inspecting the original records or by getting certified copies. Van Flein indicated that the Miller campaign has been trying to get the records since Nov. 5 and that they have been advised that the Division of Elections is too understaffed to both undertake the current hand counts that are taking place and accommodate Miller's request to inspect precinct registers.

Many of the 34 election registers Miller wants access to are from rural precincts -- including villages on Alaska's north and western coasts -- although the request also seeks information on voter registries from Anchorage, Wasilla, Homer, Girdwood and Sitka and some Interior communities.

Contact Jill Burke at jill(at)alaskadispatch.com.