A Brookfield Republican who was removed as a member of the party by the former Registrar of Voters was reinstated Tuesday by a new Republican Registrar.
Jane Miller, who sued former Brookfield Republican Registrar Thomas Dunkerton for removing her from the party, was reinstated Tuesday by Ryan Murphy, who was recently appointed to the Registrar post.
Miller had been removed from the rolls by Dunkerton, in consultation with Republican Town Chairman Matthew Grimes, because she ran on the Democratic municipal slate in 2013 after her party refused to endorse her for another term on the school board.
“I am very pleased that the new registrar has used good judgment and restored me to the Republican rolls, and I applaud him for respecting my constitutional rights to vote in primaries and to affiliate with the party of my choice,” Miller said Tuesday.
An obscure state law, apparently in place for more than a century, allows a registrar to consult with the political party chairman in the town to determine if someone has been disloyal. If they both agree, the registrar can throw them out of the party.
The General Assembly failed to erase that party loyalty law this year despite support from the General Administrations and Elections Committee and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. It’s an issue that will likely be raised again next year.
By changing Miller’s party choice from Republican to unaffiliated, Dunkerton stripped Miller of her right to vote in the April 26 GOP presidential primary.
Former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, an attorney with Pastore & Dailey, represents Miller.
“It was very disturbing that the taxpayers of Brookfield have had to spend thousands of dollars defending the actions of Thomas Dunkerton the former Registrar, who removed her from the Republican rolls for partisan political reasons,” Bysiewicz said.
Notwithstanding the fight to vindicate her rights, which included two lawsuits, Miller is pleased with the favorable resolution that has now been achieved, Bysiewicz said.
However, the reinstatement doesn’t resolve the state and federal lawsuits. Miller is appealing the constitutionality of a state court decision that found Dunkerton acted within the provisions of the law. And the federal lawsuit that was filed in February by Bysiewicz alleging that officials violated Miller’s constitutional rights is still proceeding.