Republican Legislative Candidate Files Lawsuit After Voters Were Given Wrong Ballots

By By Christopher Keating, The Hartford Courant

A Republican candidate for the state legislature filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking a new election in a Stratford House district after voters at one polling place in the race were given the wrong ballots on Election Day.

A recount this week showed Democratic state Rep. Phil Young had won re-election over Republican Jim Feehan by 13 votes, but Feehan’s lawsuit says an estimated 76 voters in the district were given incorrect ballots and did not vote in the Young-Feehan race.

The granting of a special election would be highly unusual, but Republicans say the situation merits such an outcome.

“Around midday, a packet of ballots for the 122nd Assembly District was mistakenly used in the 120th Assembly District voting line,” the lawsuit says. “As a result of this mistake, voters who were eligible to vote for state representative for the 120th Assembly District were unable to do so, instead potentially casting votes in the wrong district.”

On Election Day, an unidentified voter noticed the mistake and told the moderator — leading to a replacement of the ballots.

“It is impossible to determine the identity or intent of the approximately 76 voters whose votes were improperly cast for the wrong district,” says the lawsuit, which was filed by attorney Proloy Das.

The state Republican Party is backing the lawsuit’s call for a new election as “the right thing to do.”

“We believe there should be a special election,” said state GOP Chairman J.R. Romano.

Feehan is the plaintiff in a suit that names numerous town officials in Stratford, including the Republican and Democratic registrars of voters, the town clerk, the head election moderator and the head recount moderator. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, who is the state’s chief elections official, and others are also named in the lawsuit, which was filed in Superior Court in Bridgeport.

In another development Thursday, the secretary of the state’s office announced that it had decided — more than a week after Election Day — that there will now be a recount in the 33rd Senate District, where Democrat Norm Needleman has declared victory. State Rep. Melissa Ziobron, an influential lawmaker as the ranking House Republican on the budget-writing committee, conceded in the race last week.

The recount in the shoreline district, covering 12 towns from Old Saybrook and Westbrook to East Haddam and East Hampton, must be completed by Monday. A spokesman for Merrill said an error in vote totals reported Thursday brought the race within the recount margin.

This article provided by NewsEdge.