(Updated) On Monday Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz said the Bridgeport Registrar of Voters agreed to a voluntary audit of a dozen voting districts, but Tuesday evening Bridgeport’s attorney’s said that’s absolutely not going to happen.
In a joint statement Bridgeport Attorney Mark Anastasi and Deputy City Attorney Arthur Laske said Anastasi spoke with an attorney in the elections division of Bysiewicz’s office Monday afternoon to tell them “no one in the city had agreed to such a recount.“
Bysiewicz’s office has no legal authority to force them to do an audit of those polling places. She said Wednesday morning that those 12 polling places were included in the random drawing of 74 polling places for the statewide audit, but none of them were chosen.
It was unclear from Monday’s press conference if those polling places were included in the drawing because Bysiewicz said that the Bridgeport Registrars of Voters had agreed on Nov. 9 to participate in a voluntary audit.
“It seems the Secretary was mistaken both as to whom her office spoke with from the City of Bridgeport and what was said on Monday,” Anastasi and Laske said, adding that the Bridgeport Registrars of Voters had preliminary discussions with Deputy Secretary of the State Leslie Mara about the subject, and none of the 12 polling places were picked Monday in the random audit drawing.
While a voluntary audit may ensure confidence in the results of the governor’s race, Anatasi and Laske said “The City can find no legal authority which either requires or even allows the State or the City to conduct such a recount.”
“We believe that the Secretary of the State is equally aware of this absence of legal authority,” the two attorney’s said.
The statement from Bridgeport comes the same evening the bipartisan panel to examine the city’s election procedures process met to hear from voters about what happened on Nov. 2.
The ballot shortage, a court order which allowed the polls to stay open in the Park City for an additional two hours, and the hand counting ultimately delayed the results of the closest governor‘s race in decades.
“This process, which was difficult on all the overtaxed poll workers, was nonetheless completed by the following morning, Wednesday, Nov. 3, with the exception of one precinct where the health considerations of poll workers required the final count to be done Thursday evening,“ Finch said. “Despite the release of an irresponsible report that these uncounted ballots were not disclosed to the parties or were improperly handled, in fact the original, sealed ballots were disclosed to all campaign representatives election eve, and were placed under guard and secured from the moment they were returned to the Registrar’s office on Tuesday evening until they were publicly counted on Thursday evening.“
The final vote tally was completed Friday, Nov. 5.
“While the decision to order an inadequate number of ballots was clearly unacceptable, and was clearly the cause of virtually all the problems arising on Election Day, the City reacted well after this problem became known by quickly and with as much efficiency as possible, filling in the gaps,” Finch concluded.