Minnesota petition demands, 'Seat our Senator!'

Concerned voters collected hundreds of petition signatures at the downtown Minneapolis Farmer’s Market, May 21, demanding that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty certify the winner of last November’s elections and “Seat our Senator.”

David Wade, a leader of the AFL-CIO affiliate, Working America, told reporters, “When the state Supreme Court makes it’s decision, Governor Pawlenty should sign the election certificate.” It is considered a virtual certainty that the state Supreme Court will uphold a three-judge panel’s unanimous ruling that Democrat Al Franken defeated incumbent Republican Senator, Norm Coleman by 312 votes last Nov. 4.

“The reception has been great,” said Donald McFarland, Minnesota State Director of Americans United for Change, that initiated the petition drive as well as a giant billboard in St. Paul addressed to Pawlenty, demanding that he certify the winner. “It was really encouraging,” McFarland told the World. “The reaction was almost universally the same that when the Minnesota Supreme Court rules, Gov. Pawlenty should sign the election certificate.”

The state’s highest court is expected to rule in June but Coleman, and his GOP handlers in Washington, are threatening to appeal to the federal courts. Pawlenty, a Republican, has the power under Minnesota law to certify Franken the winner. But it is widely known that he harbors presidential ambitions and may bow to his GOP masters and refuse to certify Franken.

The urgency of the issue was made clear last week when Senator Jon Cornyn (R-TX), second ranking minority leader of the Senate threatened to block with a filibuster President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice David Souter who has announced plans to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Weeks ago, Sen. Cornyn said they will hold up the process of seating Minnesota’s second senator as long as possible. He said it could take years. He has made it clear that what matters to him is politics, not what is right for the people of Minnesota and the rest of the country. He makes no apology whatsoever for these views.”

McFarland added, “During these extraordinarily difficult economic times that each day leave more Minnesotans without jobs, homes and health care, we cannot afford to be without full representation in Congress a day longer.”

The vast majority of voters in the state “agree that it is time to move on, that the recount in the election between Norm Coleman and Al Franken has been conducted fairly and impartially” and that “Coleman should now concede the election.”

After the state Supreme Court rules, likely in June, “Gov. Pawlenty will have a clear choice: will he do his legal duty and act in the best interests of Minnesota by certifying Al Fran ken as out Senator? Or will he act in the interests of his political ambitions?”