AP NEWS

Ballot mixup reported in Greenwich polling place

November 8, 2016 GMT

GREENWICH — A mistake at the Greenwich High School polling location caused voters to be given the wrong ballots for a short time on Tuesday afternoon.

The location serves both the District 7 and 7A voting districts, which cast ballots for different state legislative districts. District 7 votes in the 149th state House District while 7A is in the 151st District.

At about noon Tuesday, 22 voters in District 7A received ballots for District 7, according to town Republican Registrar of Voters Fred DeCaro III.

The mistake was soon discovered, but it could have an effect on the state House race in the 151st District if it is exceptionally close. Republican state Rep. Fred Camillo is running for re-election in the district against Democrat Dita Bhargava.

Decaro said in the unlikely event the race is separated by so few votes, it will have to be run over again.

“Unfortunately the 151st covers six different polling places,” DeCaro said. “We would have to reopen all six of them to do it.”

If the race has to be rerun the expense would be the town’s to cover.

The Connecticut Secretary of the State’s office could not be reached for comment.

Camillo said he wasn’t happy about the mix-up but said it was an honest mistake on the part of a poll worker. Bhargava could not be reached for comment.

DeCaro said it was simple human error, one that also happened two years ago in District 1, which is subdivided into 1A. Republican and Democratic poll workers at Greenwich High and the moderator on Tuesday attested to the same series of events, in writing. Their statements were sent to Camillo and Bhargava.

“When a new package was opened they gave out 22 of the wrong ballots,” DeCaro said. “Two poll workers were working together, one from each party, and they jointly admit that they were working together and made the mistake because they didn’t check.”

DeCaro said one of the voters brought the problem to the moderator’s attention and the use of the ballots was stopped. After the incident two years ago, DeCaro said he and town Democratic Registrar of Voters Sharon Vecchiolla offered training about the potential problem.

“It happened around lunchtime and there was a big crunch,” DeCaro said. “It’s human error.”

The 149th district does not have a competitive race and State Rep. Livvy Floren is running unopposed.

kborsuk@scni.com