AP NEWS

Contested CT election law remains broken, GOP says

May 8, 2019

HARTFORD — The House spent three hours Tuesday debating a bill that would require housing authorities to give voter registration applications to new applicants.

The bill eventually passed 85-58 along party lines, but not before Republicans sought to amend it.

House Deputy Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, introduced an amendment that would allow candidates to seek relief from the courts if their election was contested.

Candidates are only allowed to seek redress through the House or the Senate, depending upon whether they were running for to be a representative or senator.

Republicans are upset that the botched election in the 120th district is unsettled.

The House has yet to vote on whether to overturn the election or determine whether Rep. Phil Young, D-Stratford, was properly seated. An audit found 76 voters were given the wrong ballot at one of the polling places and Republicans believe there should be a new election. The Republican candidate in that district, Jim Feehan, only lost by 13 votes.

Feehan went to court to challenge the decision, but the courts found it was up to the House to determine the election results.

“I think it’s a travesty to the election process,” Candelora said. “Before we keep putting forth election laws in these chambers the first thing we should be doing is making sure the integrity of a particular election is upheld.”

The amendment failed along party lines.

Asked what happened and why such a seemingly small piece of legislation took so long to debate, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said he felt people were “stretching their muscles and their voices.”

He said many of the questions could have been handled off the floor.

“We need to do more to get people to vote in this state,” Aresimowicz said Wednesday during an unrelated press conference. “And we’re going to do everything we can to do that.”

Candelora promised to bring up his amendment on any bill that addresses the issue of voting.

“It’s such an awesome trust we have to review our races,” Candelora said. “It’s the arrogance of the majority not to bring it to a conclusion.”

Candelora doubts Democrats who need a 91-member majority to override any of the spending, revenue, bonding or volatility caps, will ever hold a vote on the 120th District race.

Aresimowicz said the House has never ruled to order a new election and the situation is “complex.” He said they are still talking about it.