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Barney Frank Denies Seat-Scott-Late Plot, Sec. of State Spokesman: Could be March before Scott Seated, if he Wins

Watch the video here.

Frank blames right-wing sources for spreading this rumor, like theAssociated Press:

“The stakes are so high Democrats won’t rule out taking as long as a month to certify the election results — should Brown win — to prevent a Republican from assuming the seat until the Senate completes its work on Kennedy’s hallmark legislation.”

A more recent AP story is here, again, confirming the story above.

So who is the right-wing source Rep. Barney Frank is talking about? Why it’s the Democratic spokesman for the Massachusetts Secretary of State, er, Commonwealth (a Democrat). It’s the old we need-two-signatures trick:

“In the latter case, Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin, explained that Tsongas was sworn in on the basis of a letter from his office saying that unofficial tallies indicated she was the winner, and that the result was not being contested.

“That was sufficient for the House. Apparently that is not sufficient for the Senate,” McNiff said.

“Under Rule II of the Standing Rules of the Senate, a certificate of election must be signed by a state’s governor and secretary of state, and presented to the Secretary of the Senate before a newly-elected senator can be sworn in. A spokeswoman in the Senate secretary’s office said that was indeed standard procedure and could not think of an instance where that rule was not followed.

“According to McNiff, that document won’t be issued from Galvin’s office for weeks. Cities and towns must by law wait 10 days for overseas and military absentee ballots to come in. They then have 50 days from the date of the election to certify their results and submit them to the secretary of the commonwealth. Once received, the Governor’s Council certifies the outcome and issues a certificate. That timetable could stretch as late as March, though McNiff said it should take less time since the Senate race is the only contest on the ballot next week.”

So, who do you believe? McNiff or Frank?

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