The Hartford Courant,


Defective machine prompts high court to void Middletown election


Associated Press

December 22 2005


HARTFORD, Conn. -- The state Supreme Court has voided the Nov. 8 common council election in Middletown because a defective machine failed to record as many as 100 votes for one of the candidates.


The high court on Wednesday ordered the city to redo the election. The city planned to hold the new vote on Jan. 24, but may be forced to move it to February to allow enough time to print absentee ballots and gather poll workers.


Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz said repeating a citywide election may be unprecedented in recent history. Single election districts have had to redo elections before, including one in Bridgeport in 2001.


The new election, which will cost about $35,000, will not affect the mayoral race, in which four-term Democrat Domenique Thornton was ousted by Republican Sebastian Giuliano.


The Supreme Court determined that the machine had a substantial defect. One lever in a city district machine malfunctioned and missed as many as 100 votes for common council candidate David Bauer, who lost a council seat by 102 votes citywide to fellow Republican V. James Russo.


Superior Court Judge Julia L. Aurigemma ordered another vote after Bauer filed a lawsuit. But the judge said only voters in District 11, the site of the defective machine, would have to recast their ballots.


City Attorney Trina Solecki appealed, arguing that a re-vote was not warranted and suggesting a runoff between Bauer and Russo.


The high court issued its decision only moments after hearing arguments on Wednesday morning. Justices said it would be unfair to other council candidates and thousands of city residents to confine the second vote to a single district.


"Everyone in the city has an interest in seeing that all 12 members of the council are elected fair and square, not just 11 of 12," Justice David M. Borden said.


Copyright 2006 Associated Press



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