Judge denies AFN in election lawsuit

Anchorage, Alaska (AP) November 2010

A federal court judge has denied a request by the Alaska Federation of Natives to intervene in the write-in election lawsuit brought by U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller.

In a brief order last week, Judge Ralph Beistline said the state is responsible for and fully capable of representing the interests of all its citizens.

Miller last week sued election officials, seeking to exclude write-in ballots that stray from the exact spelling of a candidate's name. Elections officials have accepted ballots that contain what they call minor misspellings.

Miller is running second to incumbent and write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, whom he defeated in the GOP primary.

AFN claims Miller's lawsuit seeks to disenfranchise Alaska Natives by invalidating their votes if they did not spell Murkowski's name perfectly.