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Stratford Municipal Elections Recount

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Monday, November 13th at 10 a.m.
Stratford Town Hall Town Council Chambers

In accordance with Sec 9-311 of the Connecticut State Statutes – The Town of Stratford will be conducting mandatory recanvasses of one race that occurred on November 7, 2023

On Monday, November 13, 2023 at 10am in Council Chambers in Stratford Town Hall the recanvass of the 6th District Council race between Phil Young and Kerry Whitham will take place and commence until completion.

We have received questions, which we answer below, about what triggers a recanvass (i.e., recount), recanvass procedures, and how the upcoming observation of Veterans Day on Friday will affect the schedule for noticing and conducting recounts.  Sections 9-311 and 9-311a of the General Statutes and our Recanvass Procedure Manual specify in detail the procedure that must be followed.  The manual is available online here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SOTS/ElectionServices/Handbooks/Recanvass-Manual-2012.doc.

 

What are the different types of recanvasses and what triggers each?

Generally, a municipal election that results in a discrepancy, close vote, or tie triggers a recanvass. Similarly, a municipal referendum question that results in a close vote can trigger a recanvass.  We discuss each type of recanvass below.

Discrepancy (CGS §§ 9-311)

The head moderator must call for a recanvass if it appears to the moderator that there is a discrepancy in any voting district’s returns. The moderator may limit the recanvass to the machine-counted, hand-counted, or absentee ballots that appear to have the discrepancy.

Close Vote (CGS § 9-311a)

The head moderator must call for a recanvass when the difference in the number of votes received by the two highest vote-getters is (1) less than 0.5% of the total number of votes cast for the office, but no more than 2,000 votes for an election (or 1,000 votes for a primary), or (2) less than 20.

In a recanvass for a multiple-opening office (e.g., Board of Education), officials must recanvass the returns for all candidates for all openings for the office.  In the case of a multiple-opening office, “the total number of votes cast for the office” means the total number of voters checked as having voted in the district, municipality, or political subdivision, as the case may be.  A recanvass is not held if the defeated candidate or candidates file a written statement with the town clerk waiving the right. 

Tie Vote (CGS § 9-311b)

If an election for any office results in a tie vote, there is an automatic recanvass of the returns for that office, unless all but one of the candidates receiving an equal number of votes dies, withdraws, or becomes disqualified to hold office. In a recanvass for a multiple-opening office (e.g., Board of Education), officials must recanvass the returns for all candidates for all openings for the office.

Close Vote on Referendum Question (CGS § 9-370a)

If the difference between a “Yes” and “No” vote on a referendum question is less than 0.5% of the total number of votes cast for the question, but no more than 2,000 votes, the moderator must notice a recanvass. Local election officials should follow the same procedure, to the extent practicable, as the procedure for a discrepancy, close vote, or tie vote recanvass.

What happens when a recanvass results in a tie vote?

If, after a recanvass, an election results in a tie vote and no provision is otherwise made by law for the election of a candidate to such office, the election stands adjourned for three weeks (CGS § 9-332). The adjourned election must be conducted in the same manner as the first election, and ballots must be in the same form except that they must contain only the names of the candidates to be voted on.  In the case of a multiple-opening office, only the names of those candidates whose votes are equal are placed on the ballot for the adjourned election.

What is the deadline for conducting a recount after the 2023 municipal election?

Any recount must occur no later than five business days after the election.  With the upcoming holiday on Friday, November 10th, this means that the last day to conduct a recount is Wednesday, November 15th (CGS §§ 9-311 and 9-311a).

Can local election officials conduct a recount on a weekend day or on a holiday?

Yes, but remember that all recanvass officials must be available and present.  The recanvass officials are as follows: the moderator, the registrars of voters, at least two official checkers of opposing political parties, at least two absentee ballot counters of opposing political parties who served at the election, and at least two ballot clerks of opposing political parties (CGS § 9-311 and Conn. Agency Regs., § 9-242a-28).

If a recanvass official is unavailable at the time of recanvass, the registrar of voters of the same political party must designate another elector with previous training and experience in the conduct of elections to serve as a recanvass official.

Does email suffice when delivering notice of the recanvass to the officials?

When a recanvass is required, the moderator must forthwith summon the recanvass officials by written notice delivered personally (CGS § 9-311). To satisfy this requirement, we recommend (1) emailing all recanvass officials immediately, (2) confirming receipt of the email, and (3) hand-delivering notice to the recanvass officials when they arrive at the recanvass location before the recount begins.

What must be impounded and when?

Immediately after it is determined that a recanvass must be held, the municipal clerk must impound the official checklist and the moderator’s returns and the registrar of voters must impound the sealed ballot transfer cases, the ballots, the tabulating machines with the memory card sealed in place, write-in ballot materials, absentee ballot materials, and all other notes, worksheets or written materials used in the election to be recanvassed.

 

Kristin Sullivan
Director of Elections
Office of the Secretary of the State
State of Connecticut
Phone: (860) 509-6122

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