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McGee Files Complaint Over 5th House District Primary Results

Asks Court To Discount Vote For Canty

By JENNA CARLESSO and STEVEN GOODE

August 28, 2012

HARTFORD Brandon McGee, who lost a primary for the 5th House District seat by one vote, has filed a complaint in Superior Court charging that election officials improperly counted absentee ballots and lost a ballot cast in Windsor.

The 5th District was redrawn this year to include parts of Hartford and Windsor.

McGee, 28, a political newcomer, lost the Aug. 14 primary to Leo Canty. The secretary of the state's office last week named Canty the winner, saying he received 774 votes, while McGee received 773.

In the complaint, McGee asks the court to discount one of Canty's votes in Hartford and order a recount in both Hartford and Windsor.

The "absentee ballots [Canty] received in Hartford totaled 79, however, only 78 were accounted for," McGee's attorney, William Sweeney Jr. wrote in the complaint.

Canty has said one absentee ballot was hand-counted in Hartford because it could not be read by the voting machine, so it didn't show up in the printed results.

The complaint was brought against Hartford Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Iris Vazquez; Hartford Town and City Clerk John Bazzano; Windsor Democratic Registrar of Voters Anita Mips; Windsor Town Clerk Agnes Pier; Secretary of State Denise Merrill; the State Elections Enforcement Committee; and 5th District candidates Canty and Donald Trinks. Trinks placed a distant third in the race, garnering 267 votes.

McGee charges in the complaint that election officials improperly allowed absentee ballots to be counted, improperly allowed absentee ballots to mix, causing an inaccurate vote count, and lost a ballot that had been cast in McGee's favor at Windsor's John F. Kennedy School.

Canty has dismissed claims that a ballot went missing from the school, saying several things could have caused the vote total to shift. Prior to a recount in Hartford and Windsor, McGee and Canty both had 774 votes, according to unofficial numbers, but McGee lost a vote during the recount in Windsor.

Sweeney said Tuesday that McGee's campaign still believes a vote went missing.

"It's our belief that there is a missing ballot," he said. "We intend to have the court sort this out for us."

McGee said in a prepared statement Tuesday that "a citizen's right to vote is one of the most precious rights one has."

"While I want to make clear that nowhere in this action is my campaign alleging any wrongdoing by either Mr. Canty or Mayor Trinks," he said, "I want to ensure that those who exercised their right were not deprived of their voice, and that the will of the people is ascertained without question of process."

Canty, 59, said Wednesday that the legal action is "just all part of the process. They have a right to go to court."

"If a judge decides there's something there, we'll go to a re-vote."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
     
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