Citing a “historically close” election which saw his defeat by 238 votes, Meriden Sen. Len Suzio wrote the secretary of the state Monday asking for a recount.
Suzio, a Republican who currently represents the 13th senatorial district, was unseated in a close election a week ago by Democrat Dante Bartolomeo. As late as Friday, vote tallies posted on Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s website had the race close enough to force an automatic recount. However, late returns from Meriden edged the race out of the recount margin by 40 votes.
In his letter Suzio said the fact that the two candidates collectively appeared on five different party lines made the potential for countings error high. In addition to the Republican line, Suzio also ran on the Independent and We The People party lines. Bartolomeo also appeared on the Working Families line.
“This compounds and complicates the vote compilation process and appears to have contributed to some significant errors,” he wrote.
Suzio included a list of voting inconsistencies he found at towns in the district and pointed out that the head moderator in the town of Meriden also served as Bartolomeo’s campaign treasurer.
“I do not allege any improprieties on his account. But I do point out the Head Moderator’s obvious conflict of interest which undermines the need to give the public assurance that the vote count was administered in an impartial manner,” he wrote.
Av Harris, a spokesman for Merrill, said there will be no recount. That determination isn’t up to the secretary of the state, rather a state law requiring a recount if the winner’s margin of victory is less than one half of one percent of the total vote.
“If you’re outside of that margin there’s no recount. It’s black and white,” he said.
At this stage, Harris said Suzio’s only avenue to force a recount would be through a lawsuit in court. Suzio said he would make his decision whether to move forward with legal action within the next 24 hours.