Stratford house race may be headed to state court

November 12, 2018 GMT

STRATFORD-The legislative race for the 120th state house district appears headed to state court.

That’s because 79 ballots at Bunnell High School which served two different polls were handed out to the wrong voters.

Since the race between Phil Young, the incumbent Democrat, James Feehan, the Republican challenger and Prez Palmer, an independent candidate was decided by just 18 votes those ballots could have been decisive.

For now a recount is planned beginning Tuesday morning in Town Hall. The current count shows Young with 5,217, Feehan with 5,199 and Palmer with 54.

But what to do about the ballot miscue could be a decision left to a Superior Court judge. That may mean a special election.

“It’s unfortunate this happened,” said Young. “It’s not my fault. It’s not Jim’s fault. But it is an issue.”

Feehan said the moderator advised his lawyers that the vote total in the 120th was off by 79 people —meaning there were 79 less votes then people who voted in that district. Meanwhile, he said the 122nd district, which also voted at Bunnell, showed there were 76 more votes cast than people voted.

“There’s no way to figure out who voted where or how they would have voted,” Feehan said Tuesday. “But I won that polling place by a 60 to 40 percentage. Mathematically those votes (the wrong ballots) probably would have given me the election.”

But Feehan said there’s more to it.

“This is a tragic mistake,” he said. “People who wanted to vote were disenfranchised.”

He said his lawyer, Proloy Das is ready to challenge the election in state Superior Court if the recount shows he lost.

“I believe if those people were given the proper ballot I would have won the election,” said Feehan, who previously served as the chairman of the town council and Board of Education.

The 120th district has 18,118 registered voters. Of these, 5,361 are Democrats, 3,958 are Republicans, 8,601 are unaffiliated and 198 belong to minor parties.

This wasn’t the only district or municipality where there was a vote count issue.

In Ansonia, apparently a mistake resulted in more than 200 votes being given to Jorge Cabrera, the Democratic challenger. That resulted in an apparent victory over Republican State Sen. George Logan in the 17th district. That mistake was discovered Thursday and in an unofficial recount in the Registrar’s office it was determined Logan now leads by 65 votes.

However that number necessitates an official recount in all the municipalities that make up that district. They include Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge.

“After all this is cleared up maybe we need to look at how the Registrar of Voters are doing their jobs,” Young said. “People need to be held accountable.”