St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on November 22, 2002 · Page 38
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 38

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Friday, November 22, 2002
Page 38
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ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH METRO FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2002 It's official: With election results certified, Talent will be a senator starting Saturday D4 By Jo Mannies Post-Dispatch Political Correspondent Republican Jim Talent is expected to officially become Missouri's newest U.S. senator on Saturday without lifting a finger. That's because, under federal law, Talent formally takes office the day after both chambers of Congress adjourn its current session, thus ending the appointed tenure of outgoing Sen. Jean Car-nahan, a Democrat who lost to Talent on Nov. 5. The House is slated to adjourn today; the Senate did so Wednesday. No oath of office or swearing-in is required for Talent to replace Carnahan and begin collecting a salary, said Tim Wineman, a Senate clerk. Even so, aides say Talent plans to take an administrative oath of office from a federal judge next week during a small ceremony in St. Louis. Wineman said that oath is necessary so Talent can hire staff and move into his Washington office before the Senate reconvenes. Talent will wait until Jan. 7 to be formally sworn in along with other freshmen on the Senate floor. But his earlier takeover will allow him seniority rights over many of his newly elected colleagues. On Thursday, Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt formally certified the results of the state's Nov. 5 election, which also involved hundreds of other offices. Immediately afterward, Gov. Bob Holden released a letter that certified Talent had been elected to the Senate on Nov. 5. Such certification would be crucial only if the Senate were still in session, Wineman said. If that was the case, Talent could be sworn in today. Talenfs case is unusual because this month's Senate vote was a special election to determine who would complete the last four years of the term won posthumously two years ago by then-Gov. Mel Carnahan. Carnahan died in a plane crash along with his son and an aide three weeks before the November 2000 election. His widow, Jean Carnahan, then was appointed to serve a special two-year term. Blunt said in an interview Thursday that he was pleased with the overall smoothness of Missouri's Nov. 5 election; the Talent-Carnahan contest is credited with igniting the state's largest voter turnout in years for a nonresidential election. Just un der 51 percent of Missouri's registered voters cast ballots. Blunt said his office had to dispatch some staff to various jurisdictions including St Louis County to pick up the local certified results by the Tuesday deadline set under state law. Blunt said he wasn't faulting St Louis County, where officials had to deal with the largest bloc of votes cast in the state including more than 1,300 provisional ballots. Blunt praised St Louis County election officials for carefully reviewing all of those ballots before determining which ones met the proper criteria. This month's election marked the first time that Missouri allowed people to cast provisional ballots if their voter registration status couldn't be immediately confirmed. Statewide, 3,603 people cast such ballots. After review, 2,007 were deemed to be qualified registered voters, and their votes were counted, Blunt said. That final number of approved provisional ballots included 771 cast in St. Louis County, 706 in Kansas City and 274 in the city of St Louis. Reporter Jo Mannies: E-mail: Phone: 314-340-8334 Reading challenges students to go beyond their curriculum. Make a difference in the development of reading skills. Sponsor Newspapers in Education. Call (8oo) 365-0820, ext. 8905. fUe I ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH i THE GALAXY -X r.'l THE MOOTERS ! I $179." Ppfev $189-'s). 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