The state legislature’s top Republicans charged Thursday that GOP candidates should have been placed at the top of the ballot during last fall’s municipal elections, and challenged Connecticut’s chief elections official to correct the matter before the state elections this November. State law rewards the party with the best showing in the gubernatorial contest by placing its candidates first on the ballot for the next four years. In the 2010 gubernatorial election, Democrat Dannel Malloy finished 6,404 votes ahead of Republican Tom Foley. But Foley earned all 560,874 of his votes on the GOP line. Malloy, who was endorsed by both the Democratic Party as well as the Working Families Party, collected 540,970 votes on the Democratic Party line, and 26,308 votes on the Working Families ticket.So which party truly finished first in terms of ballot order rights? Republicans now assert it was theirs.
“Though candidate Dannel Malloy polled the most votes overall, he did so by combining the totals of two separate party lines,” the state House and Senate minority leaders, Lawrence F. Cafero of Norwalk and John P. McKinney of Fairfield, wrote Thursday to Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill. “Though sufficient for the victory, it has no bearing on the order of the parties on the ballot.” The two GOP leaders and the Republican State Party cited Section 9-249a of the Connecticut General Statutes. It states that “the party whose candidate for governor polled the highest number of votes in the last-preceding election” appears first on the ballot. And it also states that “other parties who had candidates for governor in the last-preceding election” would have their candidates on future ballots “in descending order, according to the number of votes polled for each such candidate.”
“The Republican Party line for governor garnered more votes than any other party line in 2010,” McKinney said. “Under Connecticut law, our candidates for state and federal office deserve the top line designation on this year’s ballot. The Republican Party has earned that.” The GOP legislative leaders asked Merrill, a Mansfield Democrat, to confirm in writing that Republican candidates would be listed first on the ballot at the election for state and federal offices this November. Merrill’s spokesman, Av Harris, said the secretary’s office expected to complete its review of the legal questions raised by the Republican legislators by Friday.