Foley expected to announce today whether to sue to overturn election results
Published 8:23 am, Monday, November 8, 2010
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, his record-setting $12.5-million campaign on the line, may decide today whether to roll the dice and ask a Superior Court judge to overturn last week's election.
If litigation ensues, it could be over the manner in which Bridgeport officials copied blank ballots when a citywide shortage occurred; and stored them at the 23 polling precincts until they were turned over to the voter registrars' office in McLevy Hall.
The historic municipal office annex, where Abraham Lincoln spoke in March 1860, was the site Sunday of a protest of about 50 disenchanted voters from throughout the state who called for Mayor Bill Finch's resignation and shouted "Finch must go." Down by 5,637 votes to Democrat Dan Malloy, Foley, who declined interviews Sunday, has until Nov. 16 to file a lawsuit.
But Chris Healy, Republican State Central Committee chairman, said Sunday night that after a weekend reviewing voting records from throughout Connecticut, especially Bridgeport's, he believes there are several grounds to appeal the results, even if the current plurality is nearly three times the 2,000-vote margin Foley would need to trigger a recount.
"I think he has a much more-detailed appraisal of what happened than we do," said Healy, whose staff and volunteers contributed information to Foley's team. "We obviously share it with him because he's the aggrieved party, along with the rest of the state." In a phone interview, Healy said Bridgeport's citywide administration of the election was rife with problems.
"The more we look into what happened in Bridgeport, the more we see a deep and sustained pattern of irregularities in literally every step of the process, from the copying of the ballots, to their distribution, to the counting of them," he said.
"I don't think even the most partisan person can have the faintest confidence in the outcome of the Bridgeport election," he said. "It is amazing the degree to which there wasn't any real trust-worthy management of the ballots in many Bridgeport polling precincts." Healy believes that there are several potential legal options to pursue, from improper ballot-casting and absentee-ballot fraud, to the two extra hours of balloting allowed in Bridgeport by a state Superior Court judge in reaction to the long lines created by the lack of ballots.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Foley's running mate, said Sunday night that he would meet Monday morning with Foley and his team of advisers and lawyers. Boughton declined further comment.
Foley has scheduled a 1 p.m. Monday news conference in downtown Hartford to update reporters on what he plans to do and to discuss information his campaign has found since Republicans visited every town and city hall in the state last week, requesting voting records and election information.
Outside Bridgeport's McLevy Hall on Sunday afternoon, activists from throughout the state rallied to protest Bridgeport's Election Day meltdown.
The group flew five United States flags and four historic Gadsden flags, the snake on the yellow field that was an early Colonial banner and more recently, a symbol of the conservative tea party movement.
"This, my friends, is on the way to becoming a banana republic," said Loren Spivack, a 44-year-old management consultant from Waterbury. "I am very concerned at the fact that I am seeing another election stolen.
"At the end of the day, the buck stops with the mayor," said Murphy, who led the shouting in unison "Finch must go," six times at the height of the brief rally. Murphy said that even though the city's two registrars of voters are elected officials, Finch was ultimately responsible for the Election Day scandal.
Finch did not return a request for comment Sunday.
"He has a plurality of more than 5,000," DiNardo said in a phone interview. "Yes there were some irregularities, but I believe there was no any deliberate attempt to misrepresent the will of the voters. And Bill Finch has nothing to do with it." John Slater, 28, a member of the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee, said the debacle gives the city yet another black eye throughout the state.
Betty Mathis, 72, a tea party supporter from Stratford, said there's a lot at stake. "I have great-grandkids and I don't want them living in a Socialist country." McLevy Hall is named for Jasper McLevy, the late Bridgeport roofer, a Socialist who served as mayor from 1933 until 1957.