HARTFORD — A winner by one vote?
That was the question asked by many on Aug. 21 after Leo Canty was delcared the winner by a single vote in the 5th district state assembly race. This was a surprised outcome for some after the election on Aug. 14 rendered Canty and his challenger Brian McGee tied with 774 votes each. After the Aug. 21 recount, Canty of Windsor was declared a winner with 774 to McGee’s 773. McGee, of Hartford, challenged the recount in Hartford Superior Court, claiming one of his ballots went missing in Windsor.
On Friday, Superior Court Judge A. Susan Peck agreed and ordered a second recount in the 5th district state assembly race between the 56-year-old, political veteran and the 28-year-old political newcomer. A recount will be held in Windsor on Monday and in Hartford on Tuesday.
In a statement to The Hartford Guardian, McGee said:
“I am grateful that Judge Peck confirmed our attorney’s presentation, which included credible evidence to demonstrate a failure by election officials to properly count ballots, to follow and/or adhere to the statutes and regulations set forth by the Secretary of State, and ordered a recanvass”
In addition, he said, Judge Peck has the authority to order another election if she still believes evidence exists that a different outcome is possible after the recanvass.
Immediately after the Aug. 21 recount, McGee and his political campaign manager Liam Sweeney claimed two missing ballots – one in Hartford and one in Windsor . They said these missing ballots were “the result of major discrepancies and lack of adherence to elections statutes and regulations following the primary election on August 14th. I am confident that this second recanvass will provide clarity and look forward to its outcome.”
Hartofrd Deputy Registrar of Voters Garey Coleman called The Guardian to say that claim was “rubbish.”
In Court, however, the evidence was to the contrary, prompting Peck to appoint Kevin Reynolds, an attorney and member of the Democratic State Central Committee as special master of the recount.
Peck issued an order for another recount in Windsor’s three voting districts and a recount of absentee ballots in Hartford’s two districts. In addition, all envelopes with absentee ballots must be examined and new evidence must be brought forward.
On Wednesday, Peck is expected to schedule another hearing after the second round of recounts.