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Franken wants election certificate

Al Franken, with wife Franni, tells reporters gathered outside his Minneapolis home that he is "the next senator from Minnesota," following the state Canvassing Board's Monday certification of the Senate recount results.

By Scott Wente

St. Paul Capitol Bureau

ST. PAUL -- Al Franken's campaign wants him granted an election certificate even as the U.S. Senate results are challenged in court. That certificate could allow the Democrat to be seated in the Senate.

The Franken campaign sent a letter today to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie asking for their signatures on an election certificate by the end of the day.

The state Canvassing Board last week certified results in the Senate recount. Franken emerged from the recount with 225 more votes than Republican Norm Coleman. State law says an election certificate cannot be issued until seven days after the election results are certified. If the results are contested in court, an election certificate cannot be issued until after the lawsuit plays out, according to state law.

But Franken attorney Marc Elias said the campaign believes that under federal law and the U.S. Constitution, the governor and secretary of state are obligated to issue an election certificate. The court challenge brought by Coleman still can go forward, he said.

"Minnesota ought to have two senators pending the resolution of a contest," Elias said.

Elias said the campaign would not rule out taking the matter to the Minnesota Supreme Court if Franken is not given an election certificate. For today, he said, the campaign will "trust that the governor will want to do the right thing."