Little-known election rule costs Save Westport Now ballot line
Published 5:23 pm, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
A 2011 state election law change has thrown a monkey wrench into some candidates' plans for this November's election -- specifically, their names are no longer on the ballot.
The law requires that any minority party candidate sign their certificate of endorsement filed with town clerks prior to the election. The requirement for an individual candidate's signature does not apply to candidates running on either the Republican or Democratic tickets.
In Westport, the party with a focus on zoning issues and candidates, Save Westport Now, failed to provide candidate signatures, but Town Clerk Patricia Strauss said that its candidates will still appear on the ballot because Save Westport Now cross-endorsed the Democrats' candidates.
Save Westport Now has fielded candidates for local elections for two decades, but will not have its own line on the ballot for its candidates in November as it has in the past.
Whether that can change prior to the Nov. 5 election is unknown at this point, Strauss said. "I don't have a resolution yet," she said. "I don't know the answer yet, but no one has been left off the ballot as of right now."
Another minor party in Westport, the Coalition for Westport, also is running a slate of candidates for the Planning and Zoning Commission. Strauss said the group's candidate paperwork was in order, and its three contenders will appear on the ballot.
In Fairfield, only one candidate -- Green Party candidate Dan Delventhal -- failed to sign the endorsement certificate, according to Town Clerk Betsy Browne. She said the other Green Party candidate for a Zoning Board of Appeals seat, Daphne Dixon, filed the required paper work.
The Working Families Party in Fairfield has endorsed Democrats Marc Patten for the Board of Education and Representative Town Meeting candidates Jennifer Hochberg and Kevin Hoffkins. They will appear on the ballot both for the Democrats and Working Families.
Deventhal can run as a write-in candidate as long as he registers with the Secretary of the State's office.
The rule has caught local election officials by surprise in municipalities across the state, including Easton and Bethel where candidates who failed to sign the forms as required are being removed from ballots.