Ross Garber, a partner in the Hartford, CT and Washington, D.C. offices of Shipman & Goodwin LLP and an attorney familiar with state prosecutions, has been engaged by the state Republican Party “to conduct a preliminary inquiry into widespread reports of Election Day issues in Bridgeport.” according to a media release issued by Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy.
Citing a preliminary inquiry, Mr. Garber today sent letters to the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, David Fein, and the Chief States Attorney for the State of Connecticut, Kevin Kane, pointing to evidence that the voting process in Bridgeport was riddled with “significant deficiencies, irregularities and improprieties, most notably in connection with the creation and distribution of ballots; the counting of votes; and the tabulation of election results.” The letter indicates that these issues “may have led to the disenfranchisement of those qualified to vote in the November 2 election and the violation of the rights of citizens of Connecticut under the state and federal Constitutions.”
In addition, Republican state Sen. Kevin Witkos has called upon both Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane to investigate the improper use of reverse 9-1-1 on Election Day to notify select Bridgeport voters of extended voting hours.
“State law is very clear that reverse 9-1-1 is an emergency notification system only,” Witkos said. “As a matter of fact, the law very clearly states that the system is to be used ‘only in case of life-threatening emergencies.’ Not by any stretch of the imagination can notifying Bridgeport voters that they had an extra two hours to vote be considered a life-threatening emergency, or really any kind of an emergency.
“Since some people got the reverse 9-1-1 message and some did not, I have to ask if we are to assume that being notified about the extended voting hours rose to the level of a ‘life threatening emergency’ for residents of some parts of the city but not others. On its face, this is appalling.”
Democratic senator-elect Blumenthal shortly will be leaving his post as attorney general to assume his responsibilities in the U.S. Senate. Mr. Blumenthal, known for issuing florid press releases, may be able to respond to Senator Witkos before he leaves to take command in Washington of U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s soon to be vacant seat. But if Mr. Blumenthal should not be up to the task, a rapid response may be forthcoming from attorney general-elect George Jepsen, whose prior affiliation with the Democratic Party – Jepsen was at one time Democratic Party Chairman in Connecticut – certainly will not impair his judgment or his findings, for Jepsen is an honorable man.