Judge Rules Ritter The Winner In 1st House District Primary
September 09, 2010
Superior Court Judge A. Susan Peck ruled Wednesday that city Councilman Matthew Ritter is the winner of the 1st House District primary.
The ruling brings an end to state Rep. Kenneth Green's eight-term hold on the seat, which encompasses parts of Hartford and Bloomfield.
Green had initially been declared the winner in the Aug. 10 Democratic primary by two votes, but a state-mandated recount ended with Ritter's being named the winner, also by two votes.
Green filed a lawsuit Aug. 24 disputing the outcome and claimed that numerous mistakes made by elections officials made it impossible to determine who was the winner.
Green also claimed that Bloomfield Registrar of Voters Anne Wall denied him his right to choose his own poll workers and said that she lied during her testimony about a conversation the two had concerning the issue.
Green's attorney, Steven Seligman, also sought to nullify Bloomfield votes cast by a resident who filed an absentee ballot but died the day before the primary and a person who voted in the wrong district.
In her ruling, Peck determined that Wall and other elections officials had violated election statutes.
But, she said, the violations were not substantial enough to cast the reliability of the election into serious doubt and cause her to call for a new election.
"This case highlights the intricacies of our democracy," she said.
Following the judgment, Ritter said he felt confident that, based on case law, his victory would stand.
"It's nice to have some closure," he said. "It's a happy day."
Green said the judge's ruling that violations did occur showed that there are flaws in Connecticut election laws that should be addressed.
"It's unfortunate that these violations occurred in such a close election," said Green, adding that he is considering appealing the decision to the state Supreme Court.
As for his future on the city council, Ritter said that he will be facing a Republican and an independent challenger for the 1st District seat and that no decision would be made until after the election in November.
"I take that very seriously," he said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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