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Alaska election officials push judge to act today to lift certification stay

From NBC's Pete Williams
Election officials in Alaska are asking a federal judge to act today, so that Lisa Murkowski can be sworn in with other U.S. senators on Jan. 5th.

"The logistics of the certification process require a quick decision," the state says in newly filed court documents. Senate rules require the certification to be delivered to the Senate before noon on Jan. 3rd -- this coming Monday. What's more, the state says, the certification document must be signed by both Alaska's governor and lieutenant governor, who live in different cities. A state employee is standing by to fly to Washington and deliver the certification, but the judge must lift a stay he put in place November 19th if the process is to be completed in time, election officials claim.

The state also urges the judge to reject Republican Joe Miller's latest request to keep alive his lawsuit challenging the state's method for counting write-in votes.

As a footnote, the Constitution requires members of Congress to meet every Jan. 3rd, "unless they shall by law appoint a different day." In late November, Congress did appoint a different day, specifying that in 2011 it would meet on Jan. 5th. Even so, Alaskan officials say in their court filings, "the Secretary of the Senate will not represent to the state that the deadline to deliver the certification is any later than January 3."