BRIDGEPORT – A Superior Court ordered a new Democratic primary election for a Bridgeport State Representative seat on Tuesday morning, ruling that there had been a “mistake in the count of votes.”
The original election results, according to state law, had required a recount after an initial tally showed that Marcus Brown won the 127th District seat by five votes, a margin less than 0.5 percent and fewer than 20 votes.
But two subsequent recounts – the first giving the race to incumbent Jack Hennessy by one vote, and the second to Brown two votes – were challenged in court by the candidates after local election officials lost and later found nine absentee ballots.
After the second recount, Judge Barry Stevens declared Brown the winner, but a week later, Hennessy went back to the court one last time. Hennessy claimed that absentee ballots were not properly applied for by voters or verified by election officials.
On Tuesday, Stevens agreed and called for a new election. The court clerk must certify the decision with the Secretary of the State before an election date is set.
In a phone call with CT Examiner, Brown said the original results were accurate and the upcoming election will produce the same result.
“Now I have to go through this entire process again,” Brown said. “The people who voted should not have to be disenfranchised because of a clerical error.”
Brown said that between the court ruling and frustrations with current State Rep. Hennessy, voters will be more motivated than ever for the next election.
“People are going to be fired up that their votes that they’ve cast were thrown away because of a technicality.” Brown explained. “And I’m going to make sure that every single person knows that their votes were disenfranchised and that they need to come out in even bigger numbers because, obviously, the people want change.”
Maria Pereira, a council member and campaign manager for Hennessy, said the judge’s decision was a victory for Hennessy and for voters.
“It’s also a victory for the voters of Bridgeport who have long been deceived, taken advantage of when it comes to absentee ballot fraud committed by candidates and the Democratic Town Committee.”
The winner will face Republican Anthony Puccio next month.
This story has been updated to include comments from the candidates.