Elec­tion Ap­peal

Some vot­ers given wrong bal­lots in Strat­ford race

Hartford Courant - - Front Page - By Christo­pher Keat­ing ck­eat­[email protected]

The state Supreme Court agrees to hear an ap­peal of the Strat­ford leg­isla­tive race that re­mains un­de­cided.

A state leg­isla­tive race re­mained un­de­cided Fri­day as the State Supreme Court agreed to hear an ap­peal in a nail-biter elec­tion that went to a re­count.

State Rep. Phil Young, a Strat­ford Demo­crat, won by 13 votes in a re­count over Repub­li­can Jim Fee­han. But the bat­tle ended up in court after at least 75 vot­ers were given the wrong bal­lots — and there­fore in­cor­rectly cast votes in an­other race in­stead of the 120th District.

Repub­li­cans have been seek­ing a new, spe­cial elec­tion to de­cide the out­come, but Su­pe­rior Court Judge Bar­bara Bellis did not grant t hat re­quest. In­stead, she ap­proved a Repub­li­can re­quest for a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der that blocks Sec­re­tary of the State Denise Mer­rill from declar­ing a win­ner in the race.

The Supreme Court will now de­cide whether to or­der a new elec­tion or send the case to a four-mem­ber panel

in the state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Oral ar­gu­ments are sched­uled for Dec. 21 in Hartford.

Young ini­tially won elec­tion to the seat in a spe­cial elec­tion in Fe­bru­ary after the pre­vi­ous Repub­li­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive stepped down after be­ing elected as Strat­ford’s mayor. Repub­li­cans had held the seat for 44 years — dat­ing to the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Richard M. Nixon.

While Repub­li­cans have been push­ing for a new elec­tion, Democrats say the is­sue should be de­cided by a fourmem­ber com­mit­tee in the House.

Repub­li­cans have been pleased that a Su­pe­rior Court judge or­dered that no of­fi­cial win­ner could be de­clared in the race — keep­ing the elec­tion in limbo.

Young said that he re­mains as the state rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the district and is pre­par­ing for the next leg­isla­tive ses­sion that be­gins on Jan. 9.

Young is call­ing for a new elec­tion only for those Strat­ford res­i­dents who vote at Bun­nell High School, where the wrong bal­lots were dis­trib­uted to vot­ers. He said the elec­tion re­sults from Nov. 6 in the other seven polling places in town should re­main in ef­fect, and then the new to­tals from the Bun­nell district would be added for the fi­nal count.


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