(Scroll down to the bottom for updates and a PDF of the Secretary of the State’s statement.)
This is crazy. Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Superior Court Judge Marshall Berger just ruled that polls in my fair city of Bridgeport will remain open until 10 p.m. Why? Because we don’t have enough ballots. Because lines are forming around polling stations in town. And because there are people who allegedly cast illegal votes because panicked workers photocopied ballots.
According to some of my fave news sources, Mayor Finch went to the state this evening to ask for two more hours of voting in Bridgeport because only 21,000 ballots were ordered. We have upwards of 60,000 registered voters in Bridgeport. How, exactly, could too few ballots be ordered after President Barack Obama was in town Saturday, whipping up the crowds? When we have so many close races and so many reasons to want to vote? The same news sources say that GOP chairman Chris Healy filed a complaint about the photocopied ballots.
Bysiewicz is allowing poll workers to photocopy the ballots (although the state is apparently doing some of the copying because we aren’t able to copy enough of them in town), but those will have to be counted by hand – the way the absentee ballots are counted.
This is not the last we’ve heard of this. I hope the newly-elected registrars of voters are going to be ready to start sorting this mess tomorrow. I may be updating this later, because news like this is crack to me.
Here’s the quote from Bysiewicz’s press conference: voting was extended “because of the grave potential for people to be disenfranchised in Bridgeport. We are very thankful that the judge has taken this extraordinary measure to protect the civil rights of voters in Bridgeport.”
Well, yes, I am thankful that voting has been extended, whatever Mr. Healy might say about it. Bridgeport is used to feeling kicked around. We have an inferiority complex and rightly so. But this should have never happened.
Himes is telling people who walked away from the polls in anger to go back and vote.
Finch, according to the Hour, says his office is upset. I imagine so.
ANOTHER (POST-10 p.m.) UPDATE:
It’s almost 11. The polls are closed. I’m seeing Facebook updates from people who just managed to vote by the skins of their teeth. Dick Blumenthal is in. Linda McMahon is out. Rep. Jim Himes – who was very vocal about the ballot shortage earlier – has won his seat away from challenger Dan Debicella. Tom Foley is still leading Dan Malloy for Gov.
My former colleague Brian Lockhart wrote this evening — in a somewhat sensationally-titled blog post — about Secretary of the State Susan Bysciewicz’s reaction to Bridgeport’s failure to order enough ballots. It’s worth a look for her quotes and for the crazy commenters. (My favorite is the “stick a fork in it, good try Linda” guy.)
Also – it’s not just us. Tom Baden reports that Derby, Oxford and New Milford also ran out of ballots. Not that it makes our shortage okay.
Oh, and because I’m in a news frenzy, if you’re interested in the PDF of Bysiewicz’s release from earlier this evening, here it is. bridgeport-polling-hours-extended-news-release
Well, that’s it for me, I’m going to bed. I can’t wait to see what lawsuits await Bridgeport when the sun rises over our skyline tomorrow.