GOP: Bag of Uncounted Ballots Found in Conn.

Thursday, 04 Nov 2010 08:03 PM

 

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Republican candidate for governor in Connecticut says a bag of uncounted photocopied ballots has been found, further throwing into question the outcome of the race.

Tom Foley says the bag was found during the counting of ballots in Bridgeport, where a shortage Tuesday night forced officials to photocopy ballots. Foley says it's unclear where the ballots originated and whether they are valid. He wants them impounded.

Foley and Democrat Dan Malloy have claimed victory in Tuesday's election.

The secretary of the state said Wednesday that Malloy was the winner by more than 3,000 votes. But the tallies from Bridgeport still have not been submitted.

Bridgeport officials haven't commented on Foley's claim a bag of ballots was found.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's top election official said Thursday she did not have the final vote totals yet in the disputed governor's race because of a delay in the state's largest city.

Both Democrat Dan Malloy and Republican Tom Foley have claimed victory in Tuesday's closely contested election.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz had intended to announce the final unofficial tally Thursday afternoon. Instead, she said she still had not received the final count from Bridgeport, which was due by 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

"We don't know when we're going to receive their numbers," Bysiewicz said.

Relying on a combination of unofficial returns from cities and towns and unofficial tallies she received over the phone, Bysiewicz announced Wednesday that Malloy had defeated Foley by more than 3,000 votes out of more than 1.1 million cast.

Unofficial results posted on the secretary of the state's website from 168 of 169 cities and towns show Foley with 556,787 votes on the Republican line, Malloy with 548,378 from the Democratic and Working Families Party lines; and Independent Tom Marsh with 17,543 votes. The list does not include vote tallies from Bridgeport, which was expected to tilt strongly in favor of Malloy.

The Associated Press count shows Malloy with 565,508 votes and Foley with 559,268, a lead of 6,240 for the Democrat. The count includes a report that Bridgeport election officials provided the AP on election night, showing that with 15 of the town's 25 precincts counted, Mallory had 19,148 votes and Foley had 6,502 votes. Bridgeport officials would not confirm those numbers Thursday, nor would they provide the AP with any updates of their vote count.

The Bridgeport report provided the AP is in line with past voting in that town. President Barack Obama, who campaigned there last weekend, won 83 percent of the town's vote in 2008; and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, the 2006 Democratic nominee for governor, won 56.5 percent of the town's vote in an election where Republican Gov. Jodi Rell won 63.2 percent statewide.

Sandi Ayala, the Democratic registrar of voters in Bridgeport, said Thursday that the vote-counting is done, but wouldn't say why the results haven't been given to Bysiewicz.

Malloy said Wednesday that his numbers show he won by at least 11,000 votes, while Foley said his numbers showed him winning by just under 2,000 votes.

Dan Kelly, Malloy's campaign manager, remained confident that Malloy will ultimately be elected the first Democratic governor of Connecticut since William O'Neill left office in 1991.

"Since early Wednesday morning we have said we're 100 percent confident that when the final vote is certified, Dan Malloy will be declared the winner by a margin comfortably outside what is necessary to trigger a recount," Kelly said. "Nothing that's happened since has changed that."

Foley said Thursday afternoon that he still believed he had won.

"Until we have final numbers from the towns that are not going to be amended, I don't think anybody should be calling the race," he said. "I think everybody should stand back and focus on getting accurate numbers. We believe that after all the votes are accurately tabulated that we will have won."

Voting problems in Bridgeport have become a major issue. A ballot shortage Tuesday led to long lines and reports of voters leaving polling places without voting. Because of the problems, a state judge ordered a dozen polling places in the city to remain open until 10 p.m., two hours after polls closed elsewhere.

Bridgeport elections officials gave some voters photocopied ballots and counted those by hand instead of running them through optical-scan machines.

Republicans voiced concerns about the photocopied ballots and the extended voting hours and criticized Bysiewicz for declaring Malloy the winner based on unofficial vote totals. But the GOP hasn't filed any formal complaints yet, state GOP Chairman Chris Healy said.

Both Foley and Malloy began forming transition teams Wednesday in anticipation of becoming Connecticut's 88th governor, succeeding retiring Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

Foley had asked Bysiewicz on Thursday to not release any more vote totals until tally discrepancies are sorted out.

"In the last 24 hours alone, Bridgeport has revised downward the number of votes cast for Dan Malloy by over 3,500," Foley campaign spokesman Justin Clark said in a statement. "Other cities and towns are likely to revise their results in the days ahead."

But Bysiewicz spokesman Av Harris said she would be announcing the official results anyway, because that's what the secretary of the state does after every election once vote counts from all cities and towns are in.

The race won't be official certified until Nov. 25.

__

Associated Press Writer Susan Haigh contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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