After a generally well done, if at times contentious, hand recount of the votes in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race, the State Canvassing Board declared that Al Franken received 225 more votes than Republican incumbent Norm Coleman on the 5th of January, 2009.
Although Franken’s attorney, Marc Elias, asked for a certification of the election so Franken could be seated, the request was denied by both Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty and Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. The reason for denial cited Minnesota Statute 204C.40:
“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.” Minn. Stat § 204C.40 subd. 2. (2008).
Elias argued that federal law supercedes state law in the matter, but this argument has not yet been addressed by either Pawlenty or Ritchie.
Former Senator Coleman’s attorney has filed a lawsuit requesting that “select precincts” be recounted – again. The matter will be decided upon by an as yet unappointed three-judge panel, tentatively schedule to begin their review toward the end of this month. Coleman’s lawyer, Tony Trimble, has alluded to the possibility that there will be further litigation if Franken is declared the winner [again].
Meanwhile, lawsuits alleging improper financial dealings between Coleman and Texas businessman Nasser Kazeminy have been asked to be “put on hold” as Coleman continues waging legal battles to prevent Franken from being seated in the U.S. Senate.
Minnesota’s former Governor (and Coleman’s fellow Republican) Arne Carlson has suggested Coleman bow out to avoid [further] damage to the former senator’s image.
For notes through December, see Daily Update