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Hartford Clerk Testifies In Hearing On 5th State House District Primary Vote

Says His Office Delivered 79 Absentee Ballots; Election Officials Say Only 78 Were Counted

By STEVEN GOODE

August 31, 2012

HARTFORD City clerk John Bazzano told a Superior Court judge Friday that his office delivered 79 absentee ballots to the registrar of voters in the 5th state House district Democratic primary.

But only 78 ballots were counted, according to election officials.

Bazzano's testimony came Friday at a hearing on a complaint about the Aug. 14 primary filed by Brandon McGee, a Democratic candidate for the 5th state House District seat. McGee's complaint alleges that election officials improperly counted absentee ballots and lost a ballot cast in Windsor. The district includes portions of Hartford and Windsor.

Endorsed Windsor candidate Leo Canty and McGee, of Hartford, were tied at 774 votes each following the primary. A subsequent recount in the Windsor and Hartford voting precincts resulted in Canty being declared the winner by one vote.

Attorney William Sweeney, who represents McGee, said there are questions surrounding one or two absentee ballots in Hartford and one vote tallied by a machine at John F. Kennedy School in Windsor. The machine vote was discounted after the hand recount.

On Friday Sweeney called Bazzano and William Melley, who served as Windsor's head moderator for the primary, to the stand.

Bazzano testified that his office, which receives absentee ballots through the mail and records them before turning them over to the registrar of voters office, delivered 79 absentee ballots to the registrar. Only 78 absentee ballots were counted in Hartford.

Melley testified that one vote each for Canty and McGee were rejected as a result of the hand recount.

When asked by Sweeney if the votes were rejected because of defective ballots, Melley replied that he didn't know.

McGee's complaint names as defendants Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Iris Vasquez; Bazzano; Windsor Democratic Registrar of Voters Anita Mips; Windsor Town Clerk Anita Mips; Secretary of State Denise Merrill; the State Elections Enforcement Committee and 5th district Democratic candidates Canty and Donald Trinks, who finished third with 267 votes

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

Vazquez was called to the stand to testify Friday afternoon, but Superior Court Judge A. Susan Peck halted testimony after learning that documents she brought to court had not been made available to the attorneys.

The hearing will reconvene Wednesday at 10 a.m.

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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