Franken Takes Case to State Supreme Court

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 6:14 pm

In the latest news from the never-ending saga that is the Minnesota Senate race, DFLer Al Franken is asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to force state leaders to certify his electoral victory and send him to the U.S. Senate.

Yesterday, Franken sought Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s (D) signature of the election certificate, but they declined, citing a statute requiring any court contest of the election result to be resolved before the certificate can be signed. Franken’s opponent, former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman, is contesting the election in a lawsuit.

But now Franken’s lawyers are arguing that one subdivision of the statute overrides another, and as a result the state is compelled to certify Franken’s victory, even if Coleman’s suit is not yet resolved.

Here’s an excerpt of the subdivision cited by Franken’s lawyers:

In an election for United States senator, the governor shall prepare an original certificate of election, countersigned by the secretary of state, and deliver it to the secretary of the United States Senate. … If a recount is undertaken by a canvassing board pursuant to section 204C.35, no certificate of election shall be prepared or delivered until after the recount is completed. In case of a contest, the court may invalidate and revoke the certificate as provided in chapter 209.

And here’s the subdivision cited by Pawlenty:

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.

The two appear to contradict each other, and now it’s up to the state Supreme Court to resolve.

(Via The Minnesota Independent.)

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