Thursday, September 19, 2013

Realistic Balance Party Endorsed Candidates Removed From November Ballot

According to Middletown Town Clerk Linda Bettencourt, Realistic Balance Party endorsed candidates will be stricken from the ballot on the Realistic Balance line.  This applies to all endorsed candidates other than John Killian, who will still appear on the ballot as the party's candidate for mayor, and Fred Carroll, who will be the party's candidate for the Common Council.

Bettencourt explained that the reason the party's endorsed candidates will be removed is that Connecticut State Statute 9-452 requires signatures of all candidates nominated by a "minority" party. The Republican and Democratic party does not require signatures of candidates to have those candidates considered valid.

Killian and Carroll signed the endorsement as chair and co-chair of the Realistic Balance Party.

The only candidate who will be completely stricken from the ballot is Steven Smith, a Meriden teacher who sought the endorsement of the Working Families Party, and was denied, but was endorsed by the Realistic Balance Party.

"I think it errs on the wrong side of access to the ballot," Realistic Balance Party chair John Killian said today.  "If people want to get off of the ballot, I can understand it.  If people want to be on the ballot, and are removed because of a technicality, it's tough to take."

All other candidates endorsed by the Realistic Balance Party have been endorsed by other parties, and will be listed on the ballot with those parties, those candidates include Republican Board of Education candidates Sheila Daniels, Brian Kaskel and Bill Wilson, Republican Candidate for Planning and Zoning, Jeremy Clark and Democratic Candidate for Planning and Zoning Stephen Devoto.

Republican Candidate for Common Council David Bauer, who was endorsed by the Realistic Balance Party, officially declined the endorsement of the party in a letter to the Town Clerk dated September 12.

Bettencourt explained that while the statute requiring signatures was effective as of July 2011, there were minority candidates on town ballots throughout the state in the last election, and that many of these candidates had not provided the appropriate signature.

Bettencourt said she was this week by the Secretary of State that minority candidates signatures were required.  She has informed the party chair, and the affected candidates.

"As soon as I learned that the endorsements are invalid because the lack the appropriate signatures, I am bound by law to remove them from the ballot," Bettancourt said.

Bettencourt also explained that Middletown is not the only town being examined.  The challenges to the minority slates began in Bethel and Westport.   She predicted that the controversy will affect many ballots in the state, and may have reverberations in previous elections.

The origins of these challenges across the state has not been revealed, but in East Hampton, the entire Tea Party slate has been removed from the ballot.

In Middletown, Killian believes the challenge originated with the Republican Party.

"They had a meeting, and next thing you know the ballot was challenged," Killian said.

"We endorsed a slate in 2011, without signatures and this did not happen," Killian said.  "We endorsed Seb Giuliano and Ron Klattenburg and their names were on the ballot under our line."

According to an email sent to affected candidates, Killian plans to challenge the removal of candidate names.

In fact, in 2011, The Realistic Party endorsed slate contained ten candidates (Full Disclosure: my name appeared on that endorsed slate as a candidate for the Board of Education).

"Middletown was drawn into the controversy," Bettancourt said.  "But every town clerk in the state is now obliged to examine endorsed slates."


Anonymous said...

So is Devoto on or off? Originating with the GOP? Get real! Clearly coming from the Democrats to keep the Tea Party off the ballot! It is drizzling out, is that the evil R's too?

Anonymous because this site still allows anonymous posters.

Bill Flood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Flood said...

I'm confused. We're talking about the signatures of the candidates themselves - not collecting signatures, right?

And I don't see any such restriction in the statute cited:
Link text

Anonymous said...

Oops. Some had to leave the party early

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

According to the Secretary of State's office, the filing requires four things from each candidate, name, address, office running for and signature.

For all but Killian and Carroll, the signatures were not with the filing.

The Secretary of State's Office also said that it is the candidate's responsibility to know the law. And in municipal elections the responsibility for verifying candidates falls to the Town Clerk, not the Secretary of State.

David Sauer said...

Mr. Flood:
The statute was amended in 2011. The link you posted is to the statute prior to the amendment. The statute was amended by Public Act 11-0173. The current statute requires the list of nominees to include the signature of each candidate.
However, I don't believe the clerk is correct that the lack of a signature requires that the nominations be removed from the ballot. The state elections enforcement commission has issued decisions in the past which have held that violations of 9-452 do not invalidate the nominations of the party. The SEEC has ruled that "where the legislature has intended that a statutory requirement be a necessary predicate to the placement of endorsed candidates on a ballot, it has done so explicitly". I do not see any such explicit requirement, but I haven't thoroughly researched the issue.