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Conn. certifies down-to-the-wire election

Allegations dog Bridgeport tally

By Stephen Singer
Associated Press / November 25, 2010

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HARTFORD — Connecticut’s closest election for governor in more than half a century is now in the record books, accompanied again by allegations of voting irregularities in Bridgeport.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz certified Democrat Dan Malloy yesterday as the winner of the Nov. 2 election. Malloy defeated Republican Tom Foley by 6,404 votes, of more than 1.1 million cast.

Bysiewicz also certified state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s win for US Senate and statewide and legislative races.

She said she had hoped that Bridgeport officials would have permitted an audit of precincts, rather than authorizing a recount.

Bridgeport officials have agreed to unseal ballots from the governor’s race and make them available for a recount by the Connecticut Post and nonpartisan citizen groups.

The recount follows Election Day problems caused by a ballot shortage that created confusion at Bridgeport polling places. Delays in tallying the city’s votes left the outcome of the governor’s race in limbo for almost two days. Strong support in the state’s largest city helped Malloy surge past Foley.

Bysiewicz said an audit matching ballots with what is recorded by new optical scanning machines is required by state legislation. A recount, however, is not called for by law because Malloy’s lead over Foley exceeded the minimum number that would trigger one.

No precincts in Bridgeport were chosen for the audit, and local officials declined to participate.

City attorney Mark Anastasi said Bridgeport officials and Bysiewicz had a “good faith disagreement’’ over what is authorized by state law.

Bridgeport did not agree to the audit because the law calls for random selection of precincts, he said. The law does not permit Bridgeport to volunteer for the audit, as suggested by Bysiewicz, he said.

In addition, by making ballots available, Bridgeport is complying with the Freedom of Information Act, not authorizing a recount, Anastasi said.

Previously, the state’s closest governor’s race was Abraham A. Ribicoff’s razor-thin margin of 3,115 votes of about 920,000 cast, over Governor John Lodge, a Republican, in 1954.