Election Committee Does Not Understand Election Administration

On Friday the Committee on Contested Elections met to determine who they would hear on the election contested. The election was decided by some 16 votes while some 76 voters were given the wrong ballot and thus were disenfranchised in the election. I was there. Listening to the Committee members and their lack of knowledge of election administration was painful/disappointing for me:

  • They did not seem to know how many moderators there are in a polling place, and if one of them was the head moderator. (Generally there is one moderator and if the town has more than one polling place, as Stratford does, there is one head moderator in headquarters that is responsible of the election and the results.)
  • They were to subpoena the moderator’s log notes, from the moderator. (Those notes are in the moderator’s return, filed with the town clerk.)
  • They just seemed confused about the whole election process. They said there was no need for testimony from the Secretary of the State’s Office. They did briefly consult a General Assembly Attorney who read a few lines from the law. They could have used some help from the Secretary’s office or even from any of the several hundred certified moderators in the state who would know all the answers they did not have.

We were not enamored with other aspects of the process:

  • They started by agreeing that they would mostly focus on the facts of what happened. They need to assess those facts and not rely on media reports etc., yet the likely outcome will be confirming that those 76 voters were disenfranchised. But there is a lot more to consider;
  • The arguments of the two sides seem important to us. The Committee seemed almost as an after thought to let the lawyers for both sides have 10 minutes each to speak.
  • To us, precedent and the arguments of both sides seem to be the crucial information. I would call for additional experts and witnesses on the law and precedent, perhaps chosen by those same lawyers.
  • It might be nice to hear from some of those voters as well.

You can read more about it from the CTPost: Committee will quiz Stratford election witnesses <read>

You can also watch the meeting at CT-N <video>

 

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