Nearly 280 voters in a Stratford have been listed in the wrong state House of Representatives district for years, and local voting officials are trying to sort it out after 59 absentee ballots for Tuesday’s election were given out and 45 received in Town Hall.
The Registrar’s office is once again scrambling to fix the absentee ballot error. This isn’t the first time a mistake was uncovered and some fear this latest error could have affected the last three election cycles.
The apartment complex, constructed in 2013 on the former Keating Ford property, had been given ballots for the 120th House of Representatives District, and should have been given ballots for the 121st House of Representative District.
The 121st District race is between third-term Democrat State Rep. Joe Gresko and challenger Republican Ed Scinto. Current Democrat State Rep. Phil Young is once again being challenged by Republican Jim Feehan in the 120th.
Young’s Republican opponent Jim Feehan was out door knocking and uncovered the address error. His campaign reported the issue to the Stratford Town Clerk. According to various news reports, the apartment complex address is in between both the 120th and 121st house districts. Rick Marcone, the Democratic Registrar, admitted people who live in the apartments were assigned to the wrong district, which means they may have voted with the wrong ballot for 3-election cycles.
Lou DeCilio, the town’s Republican voter registrar, said late Wednesday afternoon that leaving the apartments out of the correct district in previous elections could have affected the Young-Feehan races of 2018, where voters were given the wrong ballots on election day. DeCilio claims that he didn’t know if it has been that way since the apartment was built, ”At least we caught it in time for Election Day.”
“This is a human error thing, but it has to be remedied very soon,” said J.R. Romano, Republican State Chairman. And they will be given the right ballot.
“This is a difficult situation,” Young said on Wednesday. “The apartments were built in 2013, so since then, they’ve been voting in the wrong district. This is a screw up that no one seems to be able to answer for me. When I heard about this today, I felt my stomach drop.”
In a news outlet interview State Representative Phil Young said, “They found that out the day of the election. This time luckily it’s six days before the election. This has to do with the registrar of voters not doing what they are supposed to be doing.”
“They are in the process of fixing it now,” State Representative Joe Gresko said Wednesday afternoon. “We have a couple of days to figure it out.” According to the Secretary of the State the 8 wrong ballots – which can be identified by their bar code – will be set aside and hand counted in case of a challenge. Gabe
Rosenberg, counsel for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, confirmed the mix-up was a districting error. According to Rosenberg, it’s new housing that was put into the wrong House district, stressing that state law directs town voting officials (our Registrars) to reissue correct ballots and use the serial numbers on the erroneous completed ballots to track them down and void them.
The registrars began to investigate the apparent mix-up early on Wednesday and went to the complex after explaining to the state what the problem was. Voters are being offered new ballots.