January 12th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Franken request to certify win denied

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.franken.gi.jpg caption="Franken's request to certify the election has been denied."]MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Mark Ritchie, Minnesota’s Democratic secretary of state, said Monday he would not sign off on any document certifying Al Franken as the winner of the state’s closely-contested Senate race until all lawsuits related to the recount had been resolved.

"Minnesota law is very clear on when a certificate of election can be issued,” he 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."

Attorneys with Al Franken's Senate campaign had sent a letter to Ritchie and Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty Monday asking them to sign off on the official election certificate that names Franken winner.

(Updated with Pawlenty and Coleman camp responses after the jump)

Franken attorneys told reporters on a conference call the two parties have an obligation to sign it under federal and state law since the seven-day period has passed from the time the canvassing board certified the results of the recount, which found Franken ahead by 225 votes.

Franken attorney Marc Elias pointed to legal precedents, along with the constitutional requirement that the Senate “shall be composed of two senators from each state,” in denying the law allows the governor to abstain from signing the certificate if an election contest was filed during that window. A lawsuit was filed by Coleman the day after results were certified.

"We believe the law is clear," said Elias.

No word yet on whether or not Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would attempt to seat Franken if the certificate is signed. Elias said they have not yet tried to reach Reid.

Elias also said they would be filing a counterclaim and a motion to dimiss "large portions" of the Coleman petition that he said is "riddled with errors" and rehashes arguments that have been made and rejected.

Update: Pawlenty also turned down the Franken request, saying state law prohibited any action on his part until all legal battles surrounding the race had ended. “I have a duty to follow state law and our statutes are clear on this issue," he said in a statement. "I am prohibited from issuing a certificate of election until the election contest in the courts has been resolved.”

Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan called the Franken team's effort an "underhanded attempt to blatantly ignore the will of Minnesotans and the laws of the state."

“Al Franken knows he can’t win this election contest based on the major inconsistencies and discrepancies that were part of the recount, and his attempted power play today is evidence of that," said Sheehan in a statement sent to reporters.

"He can’t and won’t be seated in a seat he didn’t win, so he is trying this underhanded attempt to blatantly ignore the will of Minnesotans and the laws of the state. The totals certified by the state canvassing board include double counted votes, inconsistencies regarding rejected absentee ballots, and inconsistent handling of newly discovered and missing ballots. These are serious issues that both the canvassing board and the Minnesota Supreme Court directed be handled in an election contest, and that will go forward as required.”

Here's the provision cited by both camps:

Subdivision 2. Time of issuance; certain offices.

No certificate of election shall be issued until seven days after the canvassing board has declared the result of the election. In case of a contest, an election certificate shall not be issued until a court of proper jurisdiction has finally determined the contest. This subdivision shall not apply to candidates elected to the office of state senator or representative.

Filed under: Al Franken
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Shiloh

    All politicians lie! Study what they do and not what they say.

    Like Bush, He ran the state of Texas and all of the companys he ran to the ground, so did he do to the nation!

    Just hope and if you pray, then do so, if you send positive karma, then do so. This next president will be better and hopefully what we need to fix and make right the wrong that has been done.

    January 12, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. melvin

    the gop dont have a prayer of winning anything,this is the begginning of the liberal movement,the minority vote is so large right now the gop knows this in they are afraid that the democrats is going to start governing to the far left,in they cant stop it because they dont have the numbers anymore,thats why so many republicans refuse to run in 2010 because they know the party is over for the republicans.

    January 12, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. bj, Texas

    Stuart Smally is a moron. Take that to the bank.

    January 12, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. TexAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    So Congress can seat that nimrod Burris from Illinois who may well have "bought" his Senate seat, but we can't seat the guy from Minnesota who actually WON his seat in a real election???? Amazing.

    January 12, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. R Edwards

    Another idiot. No need to seat him. Truth is he lost. Count the rest of the ballots that were throwed out by democratic poll workers. Minnesota does not need him nor does the US Senate.

    January 12, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Anti-Palin

    I really admire the Minnesotan political process for the job that has been done by everyone. It seems that partisanship has been put aside for the law, and that needs to be noted. It's been a closely contested battle, however, it really hasn't gotten very ugly. No matter who wins, which it seems that Franken will probably win, both of these guys deserve pats on their backs.

    January 12, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. WIlly Brown

    Counting more democrat votes that there are democrats voting in some counties. Yep Al you and Minnesota deserve each other if they allow this robbery take place.

    January 12, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. Dan B

    Al Franken is a blathering idiot. Only in America can you see a raunchy, immoral comedian run for a public office such as U.S. Senate. First Jesse Ventura, and now Al Franken? C'mon Minnesota, would you elect Santa Claus to public office too? Better yet, how about Howard Stern next time? I think he and Al would do great things for our state and this country! (dripping with sarcasm) Norm may not be the answer, but Al definitely is not. I have been a Minnesotan my whole life. I am not sure I can claim that for much longer. This states discernment in politics is blind at best.

    January 12, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Clint, Kentucky

    Hey the republicans are only doing what they learned from the democrats. If at first you don't win out right sue untill you do.

    Uh, Mike? Guess you didn't pay attention last time, but it was Bush who brought the lawsuit back in 2000. It was Bush Vs Gore, remember? Not Gore Vs Bush. The recount was occurring on its own in Florida back in 2000 and then BUSH THE REPUBLICAN dragged the election into the courts. The difference between Florida and Minnesota is that Minnesota was allowed to finish the recount.

    So Norm learned his legal wrangling from George W Bush, okay? Not anyone in the Democratic Party.

    January 12, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. reg

    Coleman is like a child, kicking and screaming over his lost toy. He lost. Get on with your life.

    January 12, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. Rex

    Illinois, Minnesota, some of the Executive branch nominees. I can remember when democrats won in my state of Kentucky using the votes of dead people.

    You would think Democrats getting back in office would be a new day, but obviously it is not. And Schummer wants Franken seated. What a surprise.

    Not a good beginning for Mr. Obama.

    January 12, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. gt

    hey why dont you get a burris and show up together ,,, ya a real dog and pony show,,,, must be cold out side

    January 12, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. NYHillary

    Coleman need to give it up. FoxNews said the people in Hollywood help with the recount with the money the endorse. Stupid FoxNews. Give up Coleman.

    January 12, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. America Held Hostage T-8 Days

    Al Franken is a big fat stupid loser.

    January 12, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Brian

    It is important to remember that Republicans consider properly counting all ballots to be cheating.

    January 12, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Andrew

    You guys have to remember, the house, the senate, the presidency... any governorship isn't reserved for the elite, anyone can run, anyone who meets the requirements of the Constitution or their states Constitution... You shouldn't tout people, specifically those republicans out there who just love to tout Al Franken.

    If I remember right there's an old president you guys praise. A man that probably against all odds did pretty darn good as a governor and as a president and is well respected on both sides of the aisle.

    Think before you speak, and remember, politics is not limited to the elite..

    January 12, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  17. Chris in FL

    Funny how poeple walk differently with the shoe on the other foot. The same neo-con thugs that pushed for ballot disqualifications, rushed recounts and fast "certification" of a stolen presidential election a few years back now seem to have learned the error of their ways and want slow, deliberate process. Hypocrites! Too bad that Franken's brother isn't Minnesota's governor, then history could really repeat itself.

    January 12, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. lt

    It's great to see the civility with which we treat each other. No wonder there is so much 'mud-slinging' in politics these days–it's apparently how people talk to each other now. I'm truly disappointed to see so few reasonable–or respectful–comments by you all.

    January 12, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  19. Big Al C.

    Franken has clearly won this seat and we need him seated yesterday. Coleman knew his chances of being elected as a Republican. When he is a Bush, Cheney man all the way. The last thing the people from Minnesota wants or needs is another Bush and Big oil senator. Franken knows how many more Amercian Soliders need to Die in Iraq. Coleman still has no number for our troops. Nothing else needs to be said.

    January 12, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. Larry


    I love these Democrats,if it isn't votes they are trying to steal, it's money,so the can buy Senate seats.I really don't think it is funny .

    January 12, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. Republican morons

    Oh gee, what s shock...the repubs can't win so they file lawsuits, ripping off the state of Minnesota so that Franken can't be certified...then they bring up this ACORN stuff, acting so self-rightous about their own dirty tricks....Hey, you repubs inventing political cheating (look up Nixon, Watergate and 2000 Florida). Then you accuse the demos of the same crap you have done all these years...just more of the moronic talking points of these drug-addled talk shot hosts like Limberger and Hangunnity...hey repubs, get on board- the train is leaving you and Sarah Palin behind!

    January 12, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. Charles Atlanta

    Don't think Coleman has strong case anyway. Minnesota superior court has already rejected anymore recount, right? So eventually the people of Minnesota have to speak up. Either governor certifies it or he will be impeached.

    January 12, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. J

    Count. Recount. Sue. Countersue. Colman quit your whining ya big loser and get a life. Dems won. Reps lost. Stop wasting taxpayer money now that you're out of office!

    January 12, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. Jen, Philadelphia

    Hey, Jeff W. – "I love that the Republicans just won't let this go. They're the ultimate sore losers!" – Are you kidding me? It's only been 2 months, the whiny Democrats have been holding on to George Bush stealing the election (even though their own mouthpiece – the media has debunked it) for 8 years!!! Who's the ultimate sore losers?

    January 12, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  25. Justin

    Why are Republicans so stupid??

    January 12, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
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