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. Joe M

    Not so fast Al! The jokes on you!

    January 12, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Al Frankenstein

    I shall not be denied.

    January 12, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. boered1

    so what the loser is saying is that as long as he is not declared the winner he will keep a lawsuit pending thereby pregventing the state from having the right number of representatives.. basically if he doesn't get his way no one can play! Worse than pay to play this is no play unless I get my way!


    January 12, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    more democrat stupidity. like comedians they take things less seriously.

    January 12, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Jeff W.

    I love that the Republicans just won't let this go. They're the ultimate sore losers!

    January 12, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. Concerned Democrat.

    His wife's look says it all.......

    January 12, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. richard rohde

    Kinda like it should be. How do you get 177 more votes in Ramsey County then there are registered voters? Sounds like a union sponsored ACORN job to me.

    January 12, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. john from sandiego

    the old saying 'you got to hit bottom before you can climb up'...Al Freakin is the bottom for the U.S. Democratic Senate and America....

    January 12, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. mike

    I love how ethical or as I like to refer to : gutless the democrats are. If this was a Republican he would already be in the senate.

    January 12, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Dee

    I hope for the sake of Minnesota's reputation that Franken does NOT win this thing.

    January 12, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    If you stop and think, going from Saturday Night Live to Congress---well there isn't much difference.

    January 12, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Only weeks after November 2000 Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel advised then Vice President Al Gore to be a "statesman" and concede the election. Now with the shoe on the other foot he, and his merry band of Republican hypocrits are advsing Coleman to take every measure he can to fight this to the end.

    A yes, sore-loser Republican hypocrisy at it's most usual!

    Gee, i wonder why they are an all-white regional monority political party?


    January 12, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. david Armendale, SF, CA

    Coleman said when he was ahead that if he were trailing like Franken was, that he would bow out. Waiting for Coleman to be a man of his word.

    January 12, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. Mobius

    Amazing they can't accomplish a simple thing like counting votes. No matter how complex the media and machine may portray it, all they have to do is COUNT. I know some 4 year olds who'd be done by now.

    January 12, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Maggie

    Oh, good grief! They counted, counted again, recounted, re-recounted, re-re-recounted - would someone declare a winner already?

    January 12, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Dan, TX

    It will all be settled in a few more weeks, patience people. Whoever is the winner it will be fair and square. A close election for sure.

    January 12, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. President

    Franken would make a better commander-in-chief than Obama.

    January 12, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Tim

    "Sounds like a union sponsored ACORN job to me."

    richard rohde

    Ding ding ding! Congratulations Richard, you managed to scape goat two favorite Republican targets in a single post! What a shame though, you were so close to the trifecta. If only you could have mentioned homosexuals or illegal immigrants. Better luck next time.

    January 12, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Laverne

    Okay Harry Reid, what's your next move? I know you wouldn't dare seat Franken without a signature, well that would be unheard of!

    January 12, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Leo

    Norm Coleman is a poor loser. You right-wingers are the biggest hypocrites. No wonder your party and philosphies have become obsolete.

    January 12, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Norm

    Even though I have no hope of reversing the will of the people of Minnesota I will attempt to drag this out for a year so those filthy Democrats will have one less vote inthe Senate. I understand that this will me look like an a#shat but I feel it is the right thing to do for my wingnut friends.

    January 12, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. jake

    man oh man, reminds you of good ol' 2000. sucks to have the tables turned repulicans, huh?

    January 12, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Minnesota

    Are you taking notes Florida?? This is how a democracy is supposed to work. Its messy but we in Minnesota make sure that all votes are counted and all lawsuits settled before we decide who won.

    January 12, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. Randall from FL


    January 12, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Alex

    Any respect that I have gained for the state of Minnesota and their dilligence and seemingly fair recount process has been MORE THAN lost by the fact that they have elected a comedian, extrodinarily liberal, non-expirenced man to the United States Senate.

    It is refreshing to see good people in politics who work hard to protect the fairness of teh process more than just the results (I live in Illinois).

    January 12, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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