Secretary of the State Denise Merrill dismissed Connecticut Republicans claim that their party should be at the top of the ballot in November because their gubernatorial candidate received the most votes in 2010.

In this letter to Republicans, Merrill said Democrat Dannel P. Malloy received the most votes for governor even though he received them on two separate party lines. Malloy received 540,970 votes on the Democratic line, and 26,308 on the Working Families Party line.

Republicans argued Thursday that Tom Foley received 567,278 votes on the Republican line, which was the most received on a single line and should have given them Row A in 2011. Regardless of their failure to catch the mistake in 2011, Republicans argued under the statute they should get to be on Row A this fall.

But Merrill disagrees.

“Votes cast for candidates appearing on two separate lines on the ballot are to be treated as votes for the candidate and included in such candidate’s vote totals for such election,” she told Republicans Friday in response to their letter.

Sen. Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, called Merrill’s interpretation of the statute “thin.”

“I’m not sure they thought this issues all the way through,” Fasano said.

He said Republicans are not disputing Malloy’s victory in 2010, but don’t believe the number of votes he received on the Working Families Party line can be applied to this rule.

“You can’t read a whole section into the statute that doesn’t exist,” Fasano said.

He said Republican legislative leaders will be having discussions about whether to bring an injunction against the Secretary of the State’s office to stop the printing of ballots for the fall election.