A slate of candidates for the town committee's fifth district whose petitions weren't completed properly should be removed from the ballot for today's Democratic primary, Judge Susan Peck ruled Monday.
But because of other legal maneuvers, the primary will go forth today as expected with two opposing slates, one supporting Mayor Eddie A. Perez, the other opposed. That's because Peck declined to grant a motion by the plaintiffs, who oppose the mayor, to terminate Corporation Counsel John Rose's motion to stay her decision until after the primary.Rose also appealed Peck's ruling to the state Supreme Court.
The end result is that if the plaintiffs' slate - those opposing Perez - wins today's primary and Peck's decision is upheld, the slate will take 12 seats on the town committee.
If the slate that supports Perez wins and Peck's decision is overturned, they will take the seats. One other scenario: The slate supporting the mayor wins, but Peck's decision is upheld, allowing the other slate to take the seats.
Monday's ruling ended several days of testimony in a lawsuit during which Deputy Democratic Registrar Garey Coleman admitted he failed to have petition circulators properly complete their petitions.
The error resulted in hundreds of petitions being declared invalid and the plaintiffs claiming that the opposing slate didn't have the necessary number of signatures to be on the ballot.
Peck sided with the plaintiffs and their attorney, William Sweeney, who argued that the slate aligned with Perez had forfeited its right to be on the ballot.
"The court has made a finding that there are names on the ballot that do not belong there," Sweeney said. "It is not the court's duty to allow names that are there illegally to remain."
But Rose argued that the case boiled down to "an error by the registrar" and said that the court did not have the authority to remove names from the ballot.
Peck said she decided not to terminate the stay because if her ruling is eventually overturned, the election would have already been held.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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