Committee Considering Contested Stratford Election Splits Along Party Lines | Connecticut Public Radio

Committee Considering Contested Stratford Election Splits Along Party Lines

Feb 4, 2019

The fate of a contested election in Stratford will be decided the state House of Representatives. But the House will have to consider two conflicting resolutions by the legislature's Committee on Contested Elections. 

On Election Day last November in the state’s 120th District, Democrat Phil Young edged out Republican Jim Feehan by a mere 13 votes.

But it subsequently emerged that 75 voters had been given the wrong ballots at their polling place. That led Feehan to contest the result.

The state Supreme Court ruled that the controversy must be settled by the legislature itself, and so the rarely-invoked Committee on Contested Elections has been sitting since the beginning of the session.

Monday, the bipartisan panel, which is charged with recommending to the state House of Representatives whether a new election is warranted, split along party lines. The two Republicans on the panel say a new election is necessary.

Jason Perillo is a Republican state representative from Shelton. "That margin of 13 votes, with 75 voter's intention unknown -- that, in and of itself obviously means that there was a substantial miscount," he said Monday. "And that substantial miscount clearly calls into serious doubt the reliability of the election."

But the two Democrats on the committee say the election should stand as is. Citing federal and state election cases as precedent, they argue that Feehan did not demonstrate that the Election Day error would have changed the outcome of the race.

Mike D'Agostino is a Democratic state representative from Hamden. "At the end of the day, Representative Haddad and I are uncomfortable with disenfranchising 10,000 people using a calculator and elementary level math skills," he said, citing his colleague on the panel. "We were left with guesswork, and guessing, to us, was not enough."

The dual, conflicting recommendations will be forwarded to the entire House of Representatives which will decide whether to order a new election.