Missing ballots? Bridgeport election likely headed to court after confusing recount
Bridgeport election officials have quite a mystery on their hands. Where did nine crucial ballots end up? The mistake is likely to send one race to court.
It all involves a razor-close Democratic primary for the Connecticut House of Representatives. On Election Night, City Council Member Marcus Brown led by just five votes. But when the ballots were counted again on Tuesday, election officials were nine votes short. The change meant Brown lost the race – by just a single vote.
"They were duped,” said Brown. “They did not get a fair and free election."
Brown now wants a judge to call a whole new primary.
"We're going to be asking a judge to either declare the head moderator to look for those nine ballots or throw this entire election out,” he said. "Because I was ahead on Election Day, right? Somehow I'm down by one and every vote that's missing just happens to be mine."
City election workers, joined by a state monitor, even spent an hour searching through bags of ballots from other races.
"I do believe, maybe, that's where nine ballots are,” Bridgeport’s Democratic voter registrar tells the crowd in a video of the recount posted online. "We're going to bring those bags in and open them up."
In spite of the discrepancy in vote totals, an election moderator certified the race last night. Brown's opponent, longtime state Rep. Jack Hennessy, stands by the results.
“We won,” he said. "The elections monitor that was there to observe this did not question the -- you know, the final outcome."
But in the video, election monitor Jon Chase raised red flags. Chase suggested the original ballot count could have been too high.
"That's an alarming disparity,” he said of the difference in vote totals.
Both sides do agree on one thing. They blame Howard, the Democratic voter registrar, for the fiasco.
On the phone Wednesday, Howard said: "I have no comment. The people will hear from me in due time. I promise you that."
Brown must file a lawsuit by next Tuesday, two weeks after the primary.