76 Bad ballots, followed by unfortunate decision for election integrity

From the CTMirror: Trial judge dismisses call for new House election in Stratford <read>
The facts are simple, the law is apparently clear, yet the decision in our opinion is unfortunate for democracy.

Rep. Philip Young, D-Stratford, won re-election to a second term on Nov. 6, defeating Republican Jim Feehan by 13 votes in the 120th District. But Feehan says as many as 76 voters at Bunnell High School were given ballots for the 122nd District, which uses the same polling place.

Ruling from the bench, Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis dismissed Feehan’s request for a new election, agreeing with the attorney general’s office that she had no jurisdiction to do so under the Connecticut Constitution, lawyers for Feehan and Young said.

“That power has been committed exclusively to the House of Representatives, and this Court therefore lacks jurisdiction to grant the relief that Feehan requests,” the attorney general’s office said in a brief filed Thursday.

I am not a lawyer, yet here we are, waiting at least until January for the General Assembly to decide. The correct decision for democracy seems to us to award a new election. It was a simple mistake that led to an unfair election where the result has moderate odds of being incorrect. It is not good for democracy when a partisan body is making a decision with political results. The odds of partisan decision is a bit less when made by a judicial body, especially when it is such a straight-forward application of other precedents.

Overall, the U.S. has a poor system of deciding close elections. History shows over and over partisan bodies making partisan decisions indistinguishable from those their party affiliations would predict: <Read Book Review: Ballot Battles>



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