Revised tallies submitted to the secretary of the state now show Sen. George Logan of Ansonia winning re-election Tuesday by just 65 votes. It comes a day after election results showed Jorge Cabrera, the Democratic challenger from Hamden, won the 17th District seat in the state Senate.
That small margin of victory automatically triggers a recount, according to state law. Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill sent official word Thursday advising of the need to recount. It must happen by Nov. 14.
The change in the Logan-Cabrera contest comes after Ansonia submitted revised data to the state showing Cabrera received 2,743 votes in the city.
That’s 251 fewer votes than Ansonia reported after the polls closed Tuesday.
The revised data made the new overall tally for the race 18,513 votes for Logan to Cabrera’s 18,448.
That’s as of 4 p.m. Thursday. Whether the tally will change once again remains to be seen.
The Valley Indy reached out to Nancy Valentine, the city’s outgoing Republican Registrar of Voters, as well as Thomas Maffeo, the Democratic registrar, for more information about what happened.
The city’s lawyer shed some light on the situation.
“As of right now, we know that two absentee ballots in 7th Ward were counted over 200 times. Trying to figure out more details,” John Marini, the city’s corporation counsel, said in a message (Marini clarified his statement one day after this story was published. Click here to read the story).
In a press release, Democratic State Party Chairman Nick Balletto criticized the voting process in Ansonia.
“Over the course of the last day, the various different accounts from officials in Ansonia regarding the vote total have been inconsistent and questionable. The lack of transparency and consistency raises grave concerns about the integrity of the outcome of the election,” Balletto said. “The Democratic Party will seek any and all remedies to get to the truthful answer, including availing ourselves of the Superior Court and calling witnesses to testify.”
The 17th state Senate district includes Ansonia, Derby, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Hamden, Naugatuck, and Woodbridge.
Logan posted a screenshot of the new totals to his Facebook page Thursday afternoon.
“I want to thank everyone for all the support, kind words and prayers,” Logan said. “Here are the latest numbers for our Senate race. We are now ahead in the vote count!”
The Valley Indy reached out to Cabrera Thursday seeking comment. In an interview Wednesday, he told the Indy he was confident he would prevail in a recount. Cabrera also said Wednesday that he was conferring with lawyers regarding the situation.
The Valley Indy interviewed Logan campaign manager Chuck Pyne Thursday morning, a few hours before the vote counts were revised.
Pyne said the campaign was reviewing all the data submitted to the state to see if there were any reporting errors.
At that point results showed Cabrera winning by 187 votes.
The margin of victory needed to trigger a recount — 186 votes.
The Logan campaign’s move came after an unusual Election Day in the 17th District race for state Senate.
Both Logan and Cabrera — relying on data gathered from their respective campaigns — went to bed Tuesday thinking Logan had a slight lead, only to wake up Wednesday to learn Cabrera had won by 176 votes, according to information posted on the secretary of state’s website. That would have triggered an automatic recount.
But then the the website changed after a few hours Wednesday, after Woodbridge submitted its hand-ballot votes, increasing Cabrera’s margin of victory to 187 votes. No recount.
“The numbers that are on our website reflect the most updated numbers that are reported to us,” Gabe Rosenberg, the communications director for the secretary of state, wrote in an email to The Valley Indy.
The changes happen as election officials on the local level discovered mistakes, which is not uncommon.
“They’re working 14-hour days, they’re exhausted, and they’re transcribing numbers off little sheets,” Rosenberg said. “There’s a reason there’s a window to make revisions.”
Rosenberg said he could not comment on the Ansonia situation specifically because he had no information on why the changes were made.
A recount would have to be started by Wednesday (Nov. 14), according to the Secretary of State’s office. Theoretically, local officials could correct mistakes and submit revised totals up to that date.
Logan is an executive with Aquarion Water. He was running for his second, two-year term to represent Ansonia, Derby, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Hamden, Naugatuck, and Woodbridge.
Cabrera works as a business representative and director of organizing for the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 919 in Farmington. His wife is a school principal in Bridgeport.
Voter turnout Tuesday was about 67 percent in Ansonia and Derby, 75 percent for Bethany, 75 percent for Hamden, 56 percent for Naugatuck, and 76 percent for Woodbridge.
Beacon Falls turnout data was not listed on the secretary of state’s website.