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. ga.

    worse than grammer school kids fighting on the play ground, pitiful just pitiful.

    January 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Allen

    It's amazing how many posters are so ill-informed about the facts. It's sad to see the ignorance of so many voters.

    January 12, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. tmess

    The other relevant provisions are 2 U.S.C. 1, 1a, and 1b. 2 USC 1 says that the Senator is elected for a term beginning January 3rd. 2 USC 1a and 1b require the Governor and Secretary of State to certify the winner of the election.

    It is now after January 3rd and the Senate needs to have certified to it who is entitled to hold that seat by virtue of the current election results.

    January 12, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    What I can't believe is that the people of that state voted for the incompetant bum to begin with. Says much about that state and th e people voting! Much like the nonpaying taxpayers, the jobless, the students, and the just plain ignorant that voted Nobama in. Just wait – your turn is coming. Then you will all realize what a huge mistake you make. Nobama is NOT going to just give you money and pay your bills!!

    January 12, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. Lisa M

    Does that mean they don't get a Senator from Minnesota? Bet the voters like that.

    January 12, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Libs be dopes

    Hold on a sec, I may have some ballots in my car.....

    January 12, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. richard rohde

    Tim, no problems with the other groups, at least they are honest. Don't try to make me out as a racist bigot, thats a democrat, union ACORN trick.

    January 12, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |


    January 12, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Proud American

    Here comes the republican steal.

    January 12, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Vigla


    Sure, dirty tricks... Is that all you Republicans have to say? I guess that must be it, then!

    Boy, some people are just plain out of their mind...

    January 12, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Sen. Franken

    Then take Pawlenty and the Secretary to court for violating federal law and the U. S. Constitution. Fed law supercedes MN state law.

    January 12, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Lisa V

    I’m from Minnesota, and even though I wasn’t too keen on Al, I voted for him anyway. Now, seeing how he is handling all of this (and how well some others in the same situation are not), I am starting to really like him now. He is quietly pushing his case, which he should. I say: GO AL! Reach your GOAL. (Even though I just read at the local paper they denied your request.)

    January 12, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. Matt

    And another thing: those of you GOPers trying to make this all out to be a big conspiracy shoudl check yourselves. The Sec of State, who is a Dem, is showing prudent restraint by not trying to certify Franken before it would be appropriate to do so. Yet again, just like the judge who served on the ballot review panel recusing himself from selecting the 3 judges to hear Coleman's case, we have people trying to make this as fair as possible. So yeah, stuff the whining.

    January 12, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Nancy Pelosi

    They like me. They really like me.

    January 12, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Meh

    Republicans don't like Al b/c they're scared of him...he speaks the truth and isn't afraid to do so!

    January 12, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. bsmith171

    franken is a thug.
    franken and coleman are both carpetbaggers from NY!
    what is wrong with minnesota?

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. Jim

    I am a MN resident and I fully expect Coleman to drag this threw the courts for years if he has to. If the MN Domestic Sec. of State won't sign until all court procedings are finished then I suspect we won't have 2 senators until the next election for the seat.

    Thanks, Norm. Way to but your interests ahead of the MN public.

    January 12, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. Matt

    @ Richard Rohde

    Tim doesn't have to "make you out" as a bigot...you GOPers do just fine with that all on your own....that's a Republican bigot, racist, neocon trick.

    January 12, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. HouseDiva

    what a mess...

    January 12, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. sick n tired

    All I can say is people from Minnesota must be proud! (end sarcasm)

    January 12, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. everything needs to CHANGE!

    you are all a bunch of idiots for arguing with each other over this crap!

    January 12, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. jd

    Trying to jump the gun there are we? I smell something fishy here don't you?

    January 12, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  23. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Fact ,more votes were counted than people registered to vote. Fact, the areas with more votes than people are all Franken areas. Fact, ballots that were not counted were over overwhelmingly for Colman. Fact, Colman won the first count. Fact, new ballots were found in the car of a Franken supporter.
    Colman has a good chance of havening the other votes counted. If you dems think this election is not totally dishonest then this country will never have elections that go uncontested.
    Do any of you dems think it is a problem if votes are counted more than once?Answer the question. It is a fact that more votes were counted than votes cast. So is it ok for a dem vote to count as two votes. Answer the question?

    January 12, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Michael

    I seem to remember Katherine Harris chomping at the bit to certify the FL results. Kudos to the MN Secretary of State. Franken will eventually be seated.

    January 12, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. the idiot

    JeffW@Dumocrats cried for 8 years. Republicans haven't even had 60 days yet. And then had to get George Soros, the unions and ACORN to trash this country to get their candidate elected.

    January 12, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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