Hartford Democratic Committee Must Hold Another Election
March 30, 2010
HARTFORD — - The Democratic town committee must hold another election to choose a chairman under a ruling issued Tuesday by a state party panel.
At an election last month, one-term incumbent committee Chairman Sean Arena and his challenger, Jean Holloway, each received 33 votes. Then a temporary committee chairman, Ramon Arroyo, broke the tie by voting for Holloway — his second vote in the contest— and declared her the winner.
The next day, Arena filed a request for a formal party hearing.
Arena's supporters argued the Hartford town committee's rules don't specify how to address a tie in the election of a chairman, therefore it was necessary to rely on Robert's Rules of Order, which prohibits a chairman from voting twice. That was also the opinion of John Gale, a "seasoned parliamentarian" who was brought in for the election to rule on procedure.
But Holloway's supporters claimed that the state party's rules allow for a chairman to vote twice to break a tie and pre-empts local rules when they don't address a particular issue.
A three-member panel appointed by the Democratic State Central Committee determined the parties in the city election should have heeded Gale's ruling and not the two-vote rule, and also said that rule should be reviewed.
Allison Dodge, executive director of the Democratic State Central Committee, said she expects the town committee to hold another election next week.
The panel's ruling continues a contentious Democratic town committee election campaign that included accusations of improprieties in the city's fourth and fifth district primaries.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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