Articles Posted in Election Law

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At issue in this election case was the validity of petitions submitted to qualify a slate of candidates to run for election to the Democratic Town Committee for the sixth district of the city of Hartford. Specifically at issue was whether election officials are required to reject these petitions if the petitions’ circulator knows or should know that the petitions contain an incorrect address for one of the candidates listed. In this action for a writ of mandamus compelling invalidation of certain petitions created for candidates for the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, the Supreme Court concluded that the dispositive issue was whether the acceptance of such petitions constitutes a “ruling of an election official,” an essential predicate to a party’s standing to proceed under Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-329a. The Court held that such an acceptance does not constitute such a ruling. Here, the superior court granted the motion filed by Alyssa Peterson et al. to intervene as defendants. Peterson filed a counterclaim, and judgment was entered for Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the acceptance of petitions bearing a purportedly incorrect address for one candidate would not constitute a ruling of an election official, and therefore, Peterson lacked standing under section 9-329a. View "Arciniega v. Feliciano" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court granting an application by five individual electors of the Town of Fairfield (collectively, Plaintiffs) for a writ of mandamus compelling a special election for a vacant seat on the Board of Selectmen. On appeal, the Town and its Board (collectively, Defendants) argued that the trial court improperly issued the writ of mandamus. Specifically, Defendants argued that article VI, 6.3(B) of the Fairfield Town Charter, which does not provide for a special election when the Board has acted to fill a vacancy within thirty days, was controlling over Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-222, which provides for the possibility of a petition for a special election to fill a vacancy on the Board even after the Board has acted. The Supreme Court agreed, holding (1) the charter provision controlled the method by which to fill the vacancy on the Board; and (2) because the Board timely designated a new selectman, the provision of the charter directing resort to Conn. Gen. Stat. chapter 146, which could have required a special election pursuant to section 9-222, was not triggered. View "Cook-Littman v. Board of Selectmen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court ordering a new Democratic special primary in this challenge brought by Plaintiff, a losing candidate, holding that the number of absentee ballots invalidated as a result of the Court’s disposition of the issues remained sufficiently high to place the reliability of the November 14, 2017 special primary results seriously in doubt. After the results of the special party were determined, Plaintiff challenged them pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-329a, arguing that improprieties in the absentee balloting process had undermined the reliability of the results. After a hearing, the trial court ordered that a new special primary be held as a result of the improprieties. The Supreme court affirmed, holding that the trial court (1) improperly concluded that supervised absentee balloting at a certain nursing home did not comply with the statutory provisions governing that process; (2) correctly concluded that Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-140b(a) prohibits a party official or candidate from directing a police officer to retrieve absentee ballots from electors and to deliver them to the town clerk; and (3) correctly concluded that certain absentee ballots were not “mailed” within the meaning of that term, as used in section 9-140b(c). View "Keeley v. Ayala" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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After party caucuses hosted by the two factions comprising the state’s Independent Party, two different nominees for the United States Senate were certified to the secretary of state. The Independent Party of CT-State Central nominated Daniel Carter, and the Independent Party of Connecticut nominated John Price. The secretary of state notified the factions that neither name would be placed on the ballot under the Independent Party line unless one nominee withdrew. Price, the Independent Party of Connecticut, and a member of that party (collectively, Plaintiffs) filed this action alleging various violations of party rules and election statutes during the caucus of the Independent Party of CT-State Central and seeking relief under Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-323. Plaintiffs sought a permanent injunction compelling Carter to withdraw his nomination and compelling the secretary of state to place Price’s name on the November, 2016 ballot. The Supreme Court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding (1) officials administering minor party caucuses are not “election officials” for purposes of section 9-323, and therefore, Plaintiffs were not aggrieved under the statute by the actions of those officials; and (2) even if Plaintiffs’ claims fell within the purview of section 9-323, the doctrine of laches would operate as an adequate ground to dismiss Plaintiffs’ action. View "Price v. Independent Party of CT--State Central" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Plaintiffs brought this action alleging that the towns of Woodbury and Bethlehem held a referendum on the question of whether to approve a resolution by the Board of Education for Regional School District Number 14 authorizing the issuance of bonds and notes to finance school construction expenses without complying with the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. 10-56, 10-47c and 9-226 requiring towns to publish warning of a referendum in the same manner as provided for the election of town officials. Plaintiffs contended that this failure rendered the referendum null and void ab initio. Defendants, the towns and the board of education, filed motions to strike Plaintiffs’ claims, which the trial court granted in part. As to the remaining claims, the trial court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment and rendered judgment for Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendants’ failure to comply with the notice provisions of the governing statutes did not automatically require the invalidation of the referendum; and (2) there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether the results of the referendum were seriously in doubt as the result of Defendants’ failure to properly warn the referendum pursuant to the applicable statute. View "Arras v. Reg’l Sch. Dist. No. 14" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Meridian city council acted upon the recommendation of the former mayor in appointing Defendant as corporation council for the city. Plaintiffs, taxpayers of the city, filed a petition of quo warranto seeking Defendant’s removal from the office of corporation council. The trial court granted the writ and ordered Defendant’s removal from the office, concluding that the Meridian city charter clearly and unambiguously required the current mayor to recommend all appointments to offices or positions within the city. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly determined that the charter required the recommendation of the mayor for the appointment of the corporation counsel for the city. View "DeMayo v. Quinn" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Plaintiff, the Republican Party of Connecticut, brought a declaratory judgment action in which it sought a determination that, because its candidate for the office of governor in the 2010 election received the highest number of votes under the designation of the Republican Party line on the ballot, Defendant, the secretary of the state, was required to list the candidates of the Republican Party first on the ballots for the 2010 election pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-249a(a). The trial court granted the joint request of the parties to reserve questions regarding the statute for the Supreme Court. The Court answered, (1) Plaintiff had an available administrative remedy in the present case, which it exhausted; (2) Plaintiff's complaint was not barred by sovereign immunity; and (3) section 9-249a requires that the Plaintiff's candidates for office be placed on the first line of the ballots for the November 6, 2012 election. View "Republican Party of Conn. v. Merrill" on Justia Law