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Save Westport Now ballot line for P&Z candidates restored by court

Published 4:06 pm, Monday, September 30, 2013
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It took a court order, but the names of three Democratic candidates for the Planning and Zoning Commission will also appear on the November ballot under the Save Westport Now party line.

"I received the court order to place the names on the (Save Westport Now) ballot" Town Clerk Patricia Strauss said Monday afternoon.

Andra Vebell, David Lessing and Alan Hodge were nominated by the Democratic Town Committee at an Aug. 15 special meeting. They replaced three placeholder candidates who were put forth at the party's July 18 convention, when internal disagreements prevented the party from formally nominating a slate for the P&Z in the Nov. 5 election.

Save Westport Now had cross-endorsed all three in September.

But a failure to conform to a 2011 state election law that requires a minority-party candidate sign their certificate of endorsement filed with town clerks prior to the election led to the removal of the candidates from the Save Westport Now ballot line.

A reversal of that decision, however, came Monday in a stipulation from state Superior Court in Stamford where a judge ordered the names of Lessing, Vebell and Hodge also "be placed on the Nov. 5 municipal election ballot on the Save Westport Now party line -- denoting them as candidates for the office of Westport Planning & Zoning Commission."

As a result, their names will appear twice, said Strauss. Once on the Democratic Party's line and again on the Save Westport Now line.

Strauss said the deadline to get names on the ballot is Friday. With the court's decision, she said sample ballots for Nov. 5 will be ready for voters this week.

The Democratic/Save Westport Now candidates will face a slate of three candidates by a new minority party called Coalition for Westport: David Press, a former Republican P&Z commissioner; Glenn Payne, an unaffiliated voter, and Denise Lassman Torve, a Democrat.