Battle For State's 1st House District Seat Goes To Court
Judge Could Let Outcome Of Primary Recount Stand, Name New Winner, Or Order New Election
By MARK SPENCER
August 27, 2010
HARTFORD — —
The fight for the Democratic nomination for the 1st House District seat ended up in court Friday, where a judge will decide whether to uphold the results of the Aug. 10 primary, name a new winner, or order a new election.
The Superior Court hearing before Judge A. Susan Peck is on state Rep. Kenneth Green's lawsuit alleging irregularities in both the election and the recount, which saw his two-vote victory flip to a two-vote loss to Councilman Matthew Ritter.
Green said outside the courtroom that although he believes his two-vote margin election night was the accurate count, "At this point we would welcome a new election."
Ritter was not in court Friday, but Richard Orr, an attorney who represented his campaign during the recount, said it was done professionally and fairly.
"We respect Mr. Green's right to dig into these issues, but we're confident the facts and the law will sustain the results of the recount," Orr said.
Steven L. Seligman, Green's attorney, said there are no allegations of wrongdoing against Ritter's campaign, but a number of mistakes by election officials in Bloomfield and Hartford, each of which are part of the 1st District, cast doubt on the results.
"While the electorate speaks when it votes, we're not always sure what we've heard," Seligman said.
Daniel J. Krisch, Ritter's attorney, said Green has a high burden of proof to meet. Green must show there were "substantial" problems that put the election results "in serious doubt," he said. Holding a new election could disenfranchise voters who turned out for the Aug. 10 primary.
"An election is a unique snapshot of a point in time," Krisch said.
There was little discussion Friday of Green's most interesting contention. He claims that an absentee ballot cast by a person who died the day before the election was improperly counted. That will be argued when the hearing continues next week, beginning Tuesday and likely lasting for up to three days.
Anne W. Wall, Bloomfield's Democratic registrar of voters, acknowledged on the stand that she had initially mistakenly failed to inform Green that he had a right to suggest names for potential election officials. But she said Ritter also had not been informed and that Green said before the primary that he was fine with the officials she had chosen.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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