Thursday, April 02, 2009

Senator Franken, shortly

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Jason Zengerle has a fine post up at The Plank today on just why it is that it's taking so long for Minnesota to name the winner of its 2008 Senate race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman.

It's not just that there was a recount, or that there were so many disputed ballots, with both sides challenging, rightly or wrongly, what should and shouldn't be counted, or even that the case is now in the hands of judges, with a likely Coleman appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and then possibly to federal court, coming up. Rather, Zengerle blames the whole Blago-Burris saga.

See, Senate Democrats, who didn't really want Burris to join their ranks, demanded that Burris have a formal election certificate in order to be seated. He had one, but it was only signed by his pal Blago. It needed to be signed by the secretary of state as well. Or so it was thought. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the Blago-only-signed certificate was enough, forcing Senate Democrats to back down. Burris was seated.

Franken, who is almost certainly the winner of the election, doesn't have a certificate. (Coleman blocked that.) Senate Democrats could seat Franken provisionally, that is, pending the outcome of Coleman's legal challenges, but they can't do that given their position on the Burris appointment.

But no matter. It will take a bit more time, but Senator Franken will soon be joining the Democratic majority in the Senate as its 59th member.

(See here for all of our coverage of the Franken-Coleman election.)

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