UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:53am
BOSTON - Massachusetts officials are planning to formally certify the US Senate election results Wednesday, allowing Senator-elect Scott Brown to be sworn in at any point afterward.
Aides to Brown and the Senate leadership say the swearing-in is planned for Feb. 11 at 12:45 p.m.
Massachusetts election officials had to wait until at least 10 days after the Jan. 19 election to allow overseas ballots to arrive. Those results have now been tallied and all but three communities – Salem, Springfield, and Westfield – have submitted final results to the secretary of state’s office. Those three are expected to have the final results turned in before the Governor’s Council meets Wednesday at noon.
There were about 1,900 ballots sent overseas, which won't alter the results but still must be tallied.
“We’ve followed the book on this,” Secretary of State William F. Galvin said in an interview. “We’ve proceeded as we would with any other election.”
After the Governor’s Council approves the results, it needs signatures from the governor and the secretary of state. The certificate will then be given to Brown and provided to the Secretary of the United States Senate.
If Brown wanted, he could fly down Wednesday or Thursday and be sworn in almost immediately. He has been planning, however, to have the ceremony on Feb. 11 and a spokesman, Felix Browne, said this afternoon that is still the plan. There appears to be little reason to rush: There are no major votes, and Senate Democrats have said they won’t push health care legislation — a contentious plan that Brown campaigned against — before Brown is sworn in.
A top US Senate aide said that as long as the proper documentation is provided, the plan is for Brown to be sworn in at 12:45 p.m. on Feb. 11.
The day after the election, Galvin supplied unofficial results to Brown and top US Senate officials in both parties. But Senate protocol is to wait until a formal certificate is provided before swearing in any newly elected senators.
Galvin says he has been in frequent communication with Brown, who has not made any issue out of not being sworn in immediately.
Before being sworn in, Brown will have to resign his state senate seat, and a special election will be set.