Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis today placed legal parties on notice that the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Office could be called in to sort out issues involving the September 27 mayoral primary between Mayor Bill Finch and opponent Mary-Jane Foster. Lawyers for Foster and the city were in court Tuesday morning to argue the selection of moderators overseeing the primary. The Foster camp claims Democratic Registrar of Voters Santa Ayala has not cooperated in the selection of election observers. The city, as the defendant in the case that has placed Foster on the ballot, disputes Foster’s contention.
Foster’s legal team told the judge they would welcome guidance from Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, the state’s chief elections officer. Legal arguments in this case will continue on Friday and the SOTS office may be contacted to weigh in on issues regarding the statutes involved. Judge Bellis issued the following order today:
Judicial Notice (JDNO) was sent regarding this order.
The following order is entered in the above matter:
Pursuant to statute, notice is hereby given to the Secretary of State and State Elections Enforcement Commission of the hearing in this matter scheduled for Friday, September 16, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. Courtroom 6A. Please also be advised that the court has informed counsel in the case that the court will consider at that time whether the Secretary of State should be added as a party pursuant to C.G.S.§52-101 and PB§9-18.
As Judge Bellis ponders the potential role of SOTS in this case Av Harris, spokesperson for SOTS, shared this with OIB: “Our office has new legal authority to enter any polling place on any election day to monitor for compliance with state and federal election laws, and we are prepared to use that authority. We even have the authority to remove a moderator from the polling place for material neglect of duty, material misconduct, or material incompetence in the discharge of their duties on Election Day. We believe it would be most effective if any visits to polling places on Election Day are unannounced.”