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. pammy

    I agree with Bob the observer. Strange how so many votes can be found when you need them. Freaken Al Freaken is a no good, criminal who fooled all the people from Minn. into voting for him but lost in the first place. So what does he do, he manufactures votes from wherever he can get them and gets away with it. He doesn not deserve to win. Dead people don't vote people!!!!!!!!! How can you people be so stupid in Minn. If the votes weren't there in the first place, strange how they showed up later.

    January 12, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Mickie

    Maybe Minnesota should just go without a senator until the next election since they can't seem to decide who really wins and the count never ends.

    January 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. jaye

    .....and the band played on.......

    January 12, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. rob

    To LIBS BE DOPES Extra ballots in your car? For what, toilet paper? That's what the rePUBElicans have done to our election system.

    January 12, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Walt

    Mmmmm. Who was it who denounced Americans as "a nation of whiners?"
    Oh, right. That was a Republican, wasn't it? Never mind... guess that label is "no longer operative."

    January 12, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Debby

    Good , Franken is suck a loser.

    January 12, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Chris

    Only in Minnesota would a clown like Franken in office. The cold weather must freeze brains up there.

    January 12, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Barack wins and America loses

    Good news, the crook couldn't steal the election yet. Just wait till the reality of the voter fraud and biasness in counts is revealed and this whacko is left eating crow.

    January 12, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. cat

    Let's face it the real comedian here is the Republican Party.
    Do they really thing we are going to give them 4 more years to dig the hole deeper.

    January 12, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. james in s.c.

    why do rethuglicans likes to keep crooks? when is the FBI going to charge Coleman for corruption charge he has agaist him? and if the state council has Franken a winner Coleman and rethug governor Pawlenty will lose in the supreme court battle. so its best for Franken to sit back and let all this lawsuit get thrown out.


    January 12, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Givemebackthelast8years

    Too bad this didn't happen in 2000 in Florida. Al Gore should have kept fighting... Winning the popular vote and loosing the election… Only Republicans can complain about irregularities with a straight face after stealing two elections and mugging the country.

    January 12, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. chris@stl

    Mark Ritchie ... there's a good human being. Don't care what party he belong to ....

    January 12, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Campy

    I would rather be Franken than Coleman. I'd say Coleman's chances of winning are about 5% or less. Time to hang it up, Norm.

    January 12, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. TomD

    Folks, ACORN was not voter fraud. Please find the time to read facts. Registration is NOT VOTING and ACORN did not stuff ballot boxes. Come on....educate yourselves. Or did Mickey Mouse really show up to vote at your polls?

    I think the system will work here. NOT like it did in the State Jeb Bush ran that ultimately went to this brother – Florida. Lest we all forget.

    January 12, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  15. Jason in New Mexico

    Im going to laugh in all your faces when Al wins this recount! HAHAHA the GOP got slaughtered this election, can't wait till 2010 so it can continue!!!

    January 12, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Jasper

    That's OK Richard, we all know that you repukes aren't too swift. You still can't figure out the difference between VOTER REGISTRATION fraud and VOTING fraud. Too many big words would have to be used. There was no VOTING fraud in the election. Have Mrs. Robinson in the kindergarten room explain it to you.

    January 12, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. legal in nc

    Typical hypocrisy of the demotwits, trying to steal something they can't rightly earn.

    January 12, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Snake eyes


    January 12, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Mike

    I curious as to why my vote for Coleman wasn't counted twice? It seems the only double counted votes were in Franken's favor.
    What a crock this election was.
    And they want us to show up for the polls with this kind of crap going on?
    I think I'll save gas and stay home next time since my vote doesn't seem to count anyway.
    Special interests and back door dealing end up overriding the will of the people.
    And SOS Ritchie's refusal to sign is only grandstanding and more Dem party "Gee look at how honest I am" politics.

    January 12, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Comedian/Actor's are idiots with no business in politics? Remember that senile old fella in 80s who happened to be the President? Yeah...

    At least Al knows what year it is and to put his boxers on BEFORE the pants...

    January 12, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. TCM

    Just keep counting and recounting until ACORN steals enough votes out of the kitty....dat's da way we's did it fo Obammee

    January 12, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Andy

    I love Blagojevich! He is such a good man and role model. Thank you Illinios for showing such wisdom with your selections of Government officials.

    PS- I got the odds 2-1 that this country rebels against the tyrannical garbage that has been "elected" , and guys like Blago help show that the time is coming. We just need a complete collapse economically.....that should be do-able.....

    January 12, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. MD

    Don't worry Al. Give ACORN a call and tell them you need more money to buy politicians. Worked so far....

    January 12, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. Joe Green

    Why is Franken trying to break the law?

    Does he think that if he can illegally certify the election, get sworn in, he'd stll be Senator, even if the uncounted ballots later on prove him to have lost the election.

    Count all the votes. Resolve all the issues. Let the process continue until it is resolved in an orderly manner.

    There is nothing to be gained by rushing to judgement on this.

    January 12, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. MD

    Dear Alan from PA:

    No Way. Nancy's got him beat by a mile.

    January 12, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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