Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says she will not conduct a recount of the 13th Senate District race, as requested by Republican Len Suzio, who lost his bid for rel-election in the district in last week's elections.
In a statement released today, Merrill said state law does not require or allow for a recount in the 13th Senate District race.
“State statutes regarding recounts are very clear, and we have no discretion to order a recount in a case where it is not mandated by state law,” Merrill said. “The statute makes clear that if the margin in any district election is within 20 votes or 0.5% of the total votes cast there is an automatic machine recount of the results. If the margin is greater than that number – there is no recount. Although the result in the Senate 13th district is close, the final margin is 238 votes. The maximum margin in that race that would require an automatic recount is 198 votes – equivalent to 0.5% of the total votes cast. That being said, Senator Suzio is within his rights to challenge the results in court and a judge could potentially order a recount.”
Suzio lost his Senate seat to Democratic challenger Dante Bartolomeo by a 1 percent margin and petitioned Merrill for a recount based on what he said were errors and a conflict of interest in the vote count.
Suzio acknowledges the vote margin between doesn't automatically qualify the race for a recount, but gave three reasons anyway why a recount should be done:
- That he and Bartolomeo ran on five different party lines as opposed to the traditional two categories, possibly causing confusion, he says.
- The secretary of state's new procedures and a new system for allocating and compiling “unknown” votes was so novel, it created a "much higher potential for confusion and mistakes by election officials."
- The head moderator in Meriden was the campaign treasurer for Bartolomeo, which he considers a conflict of interest.
Suzio today could not be reached for comment on Merrill's decision.