Will Democrats Mess With Brown's Certification?

Posted: Jan 20, 2010 9:52 AM
The next big question left in the Massachusetts Senate race is when Brown can legally take his seat in the Senate, and what games Democrats could play to stall that.  The Boston Herald reported over the weekend that an anonymous Massachusetts official said election workers could delay Brown's certification until February 20th, giving the Democrats enough time to pass Obamacare with their 60-vote supermajority.

That's outrageous, given that the average number of days it usually takes for a specially-elected Senator to be certified, according to the Republican National Lawyers Association.
The average time is 9.3 days to seat a senator-elect following a special election when the election was not on the same date as the November General Election (three races total). In 1996, Ron Wyden (D-OR) was seated in seven days. In 1993, Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) was seated in nine days, replacing the incumbent Democrat Senator, Bob Krueger. In December of 1992, sitting Senator Kent Conrad was re-seated in twelve days.
Given that there is no definitive word about when Massachusetts officials plan on certifying him, it's probably too early to play the blame game — but that doesn't mean we don't have to watch this issue. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave a total non-answer to Fox News when questioned about his stance on Brown's certification:
When there is a certified winner in Massachusetts, the Senate has received appropriate papers, and the vice president is available, the successor to Kennedy/Kirk will be sworn in.
If his certification is delayed, it would be terrible PR for an already-faltering Democratic Party. Messing with policy is one thing: backhanded political maneuvers to delay the voice of the people are another. And if this election proved anything, it's that voters are listening.