Hamden mayor launches inquiry into senate district mix-up
Mayor Curt Leng is starting his own inquiry into Hamden election procedures after Hearst Connecticut Media revealed that voters on a section of Paradise Avenue were issued the wrong ballots in state elections from 2012 to 2018.
“Certainly, I would like all eligible persons to be able to exercise their right to vote,” Leng said in a written statement Wednesday. “I am reviewing these issues with the Town’s legal advisers, Registrar’s Office, and State of Connecticut to determine what, if any, resolutions must occur to ensure all eligible voters are effectively processed and accounted for in Hamden.”
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Between 2012 and 2018, according voters at about 25 addresses along a one-mile section of Paradise Avenue received ballots in the 11th Senate District, when in fact state maps place their street in the 17th Senate District.
Emails obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media show the Secretary of the State’s office working out the problem with a local registrar this winter after voters notified a candidate of the error. But the affected voters have yet to be officially notified of the error.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said Tuesday she will send a complaint to the State Elections Enforcement Commission regarding the botched ballots, requesting an investigation.
Frank LaDore, chairman of the Hamden Republican Town Committee, said Wednesday he believes Paradise Avenue residents should be notified. He suggested a posted sign in their polling place in the next election. But he said he was not worried about widespread election mistakes in Hamden.
“Our goal is to have honest and accurate elections, and now that it has been detected, I am confident that our registrar will make the necessary corrections for elections going forward,” LaDore said.
The error was caused by a mistake in the street list created years ago by the Hamden Registrars of Voters office. Poll workers use the street list on Election Day to distribute ballots.
The mistake denied Paradise Avenue voters the opportunity to vote for the candidates who would represent them.
Hamden Republican Registrar Anthony Esposito said the error was corrected, after it was brought to his attention by Secretary of the State officials in mid-January. Leng did not respond to questions about when he first learned of this issue.
“Obviously a mistake was made somewhere,” said Lou Panzo, chair of the Hamden Democratic Town Committee. “You can learn from errors that are made and this is a good example.”
Staff Writer Ben Lambert contributed to this report.
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