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Friday, August 19, 2005

State planning special election if Newton resigns

It's not a matter of will State Senator Ernest Newton (D-Bridgeport) resign, it's when will he quit and in another sign that Newton's political career is coming to an end, lawmakers at the Capital are currently drafting a special Senate election for to so-to-be vacant seat.

From the Connecticut Post
State officials are quietly planning a special Senate election in case Sen. Ernest E. Newton II resigns under mounting political pressure and the weight of an active federal grand jury investigation.

The logistics — involving Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and election officials in Bridgeport and Stratford — are complicated by the upcoming Nov. 8 municipal elections.

Under one scenario, a successor for the veteran lawmaker would be chosen in a rare paper-ballot format similar to the recent inauguration of the democratic process in Iraq.

Great, purple fingers for everyone!

The Secretary of State, Susan Bysiewicz explains that the use of paper ballots depends on when Newton resigns.

"If Ernie resigns between Sept. 2 and Oct. 4, the election will have to be held with paper ballots, not voting machines," Bysiewicz said.


Under state law, members of the General Assembly who resign must first notify the secretary of the state, who then informs the governor. The governor, in turn, has 10 days to declare a vacancy and issue writs of election that are delivered to the appropriate town clerks.

Once the writs are issued, Republican and Democratic town committees consider candidates, petition candidates and collect signatures; a special election is held in the district exactly 46 days later, unless it falls on a Saturday or Sunday.

If officials figure out how to avoid using paper ballots in Bridgeport, the last practical day to hold a special election using machines is Oct. 18. That is because of requirements to leave voting machines unencumbered in the two weeks before an election. Similarly, the machines must remain sealed, pending audits and recounts, for two weeks after an election, Bysiewicz said.

Unless you like the prospect of having a purple finger and a paper election, demand that Newton speak up or pack up!