How Alaska fills temporary Senate vacancies must be decided by voters in November, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
The initiative, which would repeal the governor's ability to make a temporary appointment, was thrown out earlier this year by Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, a Republican who oversees the state elections division.
Under the initiative, vacancies would be filled by special election, which could occur within 60 to 90 days.
The court ruled Friday that Leman should not have stricken the initiative from the ballot.
The issue could be a factor in Tuesday's primary election, when Sen. Lisa Murkowski faces three Republican challengers. Murkowski was appointed by her father, Frank Murkowski, in 2002 to fill the remainder of his Senate term when he was elected governor.
State Rep. Eric Croft, a Democrat and one of the sponsors of the initiative, said Lisa and Frank Murkowski have done everything they could to keep the initiative off the November ballot, where some members of the Republican Party fear it would have the potential to remind voters of the nepotism issue.
"This isn't about Lisa or Frank to me," Croft said. "This is about how we select our U.S. senators."
Elliott Bundy, Lisa Murkowski's spokesman, said Friday that Murkowski had no comment on the ruling. "The campaign is focused on the primary on Tuesday," Bundy said.
Frank Murkowski spokeswoman Becky Hultberg said the governor's office had no comment.