Alaska candidate files federal suit

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Republican candidate Joe Miller challenged Alaska's U.S. Senate election in federal court Monday after his resounding losses in the state courts.

His federal complaint includes charges that the Alaska Supreme Court already dismissed. But he's asserting that the issues he raises, including that the state counted misspelled write-in ballots for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, violate the U.S. Constitution and that the federal courts need to step into the election.

The Alaska Supreme Court last week ruled against Miller last week.

Miller did say that U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline could lift his order blocking the state from certifying Murkowski as the winner in the Nov. 2 election. But Miller also asked for an extension of the deadlines to try to overturn Murkowski's victory. - Anchorage Daily News

Many travelers lack ID documents

LOS ANGELES - Despite new travel requirements, more than 2.3 million Americans reentering the country by land or sea from Mexico or Canada failed to produce a passport, birth certificate, or other secure document to establish identity and nationality, a government review found.

Most people were still allowed to pass through ports of entry without the approved documents or without being transferred to a secondary inspection post for a more in-depth examination, the report by the inspector general for the Homeland Security Department said.

Many travelers were allowed to pass after undergoing extensive questioning and producing at least a driver's license, it found. Overall, 96 percent of travelers arriving at the 39 busiest land ports complied with the new law, which took effect in June 2009.

The audit concluded that if all those who skirted the rules were referred to a secondary inspection, the agency would not have the necessary staffing and infrastructure to handle the resulting increase in workload. - Los Angeles Times

Md.'s Mikulski reaches milestone

WASHINGTON - Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski will become the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. Senate when she is sworn in for her fifth term next week.

Mikulski, 74, a Democrat, first won her seat in 1986. On Wednesday, she will break the record of the late Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, who represented Maine in the chamber for 24 years, from 1949 to 1973.

Mikulski has long been known as the dean of Democratic women in the Senate and a leader on women's issues. Not until 1992 did Senate membership include more than two female senators at a time. - AP

Elsewhere:

Alvin Greene, the unemployed Army veteran who suggested during his failed U.S. Senate bid in South Carolina - in which he lost handily to incumbent Republican Jim DeMint - that making action figures of himself would help create jobs, is running for office again. Greene paid the $165 filing fee on Christmas Eve to run in a special election for a vacant South Carolina state House seat.