Danbury Officials did not follow the law in case diseased candidate

From the Hat City Blog:  Danbury Democrats threaten legal action over Seabury controversy  <read>

Dear Mrs. Giegler, Mrs. Gallo and Ms. Doran: I am saddened by the recent passing of City Councilman Gregg Seabury. Gregg was a valued public servant and educator. Gregg’s passing is a loss for his family and the City of Danbury as a whole. My respect for Gregg makes me regret the need to draft this correspondence. Unfortunately, I believe it is necessary to make certain facts regarding Mr. Seabury’s presence on the Election Day ballot and the effect of his passing absolutely clear.

First, the law is well established that Conn. Gen. Stat § 9-460 governs what is to occur when a candidate passes less than twenty-four days but more than twenty-four hours before the opening of the polls on Election Day. Specifically, the statute permits the party who nominated the candidate to nominate a replacement candidate. Critically the statute does not allow, as is the law in some states, the candidate to remain on the ballot.

f passing occurred on a Saturday is of no legal moment and any claim to the contrary is simply not premised upon the law.Mr. Seabury’s passing, less than twenty-four days but more than twenty-four hours before the opening of the polls, created a vacant nomination. See, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-460 which clearly holds that in such circumstances the candidate may be replaced or his name removed from the ballot. The statute does not permit the name to remain on the ballot as I understand is intended.

The failure to remove Mr. Seabury’s name, either by having the ballots reprinted with the name of the replacement candidate, having stickers with the replacement candidate’s name placed on the ballots or, in the event no replacement has been nominated, “(C)caus[ing] blank stickers to be so affixed if the vacancy is not filled,” is in direct violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-460 (adding emphasis).

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill seems to agree:

“This is an emotional time and Secretary Merrill and the staff of her office have deep sympathy for the friends and family of Councilman Seabury.

Early yesterday afternoon, lawyers from the Secretary of the State’s office informed Danbury’s local election officials of the law regarding replacing a deceased candidate on the ballot. Connecticut law in this case is clear, and there is no basis in law to allow Gregg Seabury’s name to remain on the ballot, or to treat this situation as if there is a vacancy in office.

It is of great concern to read news reports this morning that Danbury officials have apparently decided to ignore the clear requirements of Connecticut law. It is the position of this office that all local election officials should follow the law as written.”

–          Gabe Rosenberg, Communications Director for Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill

Our Opinion: We understand that diseased candidate Seabury was not elected, likely leaving the Democrats with no reason to go to court.  Yet, the Registrars deserve an SEEC complaint and large fines for blatantly failing to follow the law.

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