HARTFORD, CT — The Waterbury faction of the Independent Party, which won the ballot line through a court order in 2018, is back in court this week.
In a motion filed Thursday, attorneys for the party were calling for the Secretary of the State’s office to comply with the order that gave their party control of the ballot line.
“Despite the explicit language of this Court’s order, the Secretary of the State’s office has repeatedly accepted applications for nominating petition forms for municipal races for the Independent Party ballot line from groups not affiliated with the Independent Party and from candidates who were not endorsed pursuant to its bylaws,” William Bloss, an attorney for the Independent Party, wrote.
At issue is the potential cross-endorsement of municipal candidates in Enfield, East Haven, Fairfield, Groton, New Britain, Norwalk, Portland, Rocky Hill, Stamford, Colchester, East Haven, Broad Brook, and Bristol.
“These supposed nominations — most of which are cross-endorsements of Republican candidates — have been filed without any evidence that they were made in compliance with either the 2010 bylaws or this Court’s order — which they were not,” Bloss added.
Gabe Rosenberg, a spokesman for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said that the state doesn’t put candidates on the ballot in municipal years. He said that’s the responsibility of town clerks.
“We can’t improperly put people on the ballot because we are not the town clerk,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg added that they may hand out nominating petitions to candidates, but they hand them out to anyone because they don’t know necessarily who will receive the party nomination.
Still, Bloss argued that the nominations of candidates in the towns “are inconsistent with this Court’s order that the Secretary of the State must accept “only the nominations and endorsements of the Independent Party . . . made pursuant to the 2010 bylaws.”
In some cases, the outside groups are claiming the name “Independent Party” on local ballots, “but because the Independent Party is already a recognized statewide party, there cannot be new local parties created using that name, and so these applications should not be accepted.”
“Further, and separately, it does not appear that the Connecticut election statutes permit cross-endorsements in municipal elections,” Bloss said.
It’s unclear if that’s the case.
Michael Telesca, as chairman of the Independent Party, requests that the court to order the Secretary of the State’s office to rescind its prior acceptance of any and all applications for nominating petitions for the Independent Party that have been filed without evidence that they were made pursuant to the 2010 bylaws, and also to reject any such nominating petitions going forward.
The next court date is scheduled for Sept. 9.