Tags: minnesota | senate

Al Franken Denied Certificate to Take Senate Seat

Monday, 12 Jan 2009 01:00 PM

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Democrat Al Franken asked the Minnesota governor and secretary of state to issue an election certificate that would let him take office in the Senate, but the request was denied.

"Minnesota law is very clear on when a certificate of election can be issued,” Mark Ritchie, Minnesota’s Democratic secretary of state, wrote in a Monday statement. “Neither the governor nor I may sign a certificate of election in the U.S. Senate race until all election contests have reached a final determination. Even if the governor issues a certificate of election prior to the conclusion of the contest phase, I will not sign it."

Minn. Governor Pawlenty echoed Ritchie, saying the following in a statement: “I have a duty to follow state law and our statutes are clear on this issue. I am prohibited from issuing a certificate of election until the election contest in the courts has been resolved.”

In letters the campaign sent Monday, Franken's lawyers argued that a seven-day waiting period had passed and he should get the signed certificate. State law requires the waiting period after the election is finalized; the election was finalized on Jan. 5, with Franken leading Republican Norm Coleman by 225 votes after a statewide recount.

Franken attorney Marc Elias said the campaign believed federal law entitled him to the certificate before the Coleman lawsuit is settled.

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