After five weeks, two recanvasses and one voter mistakenly labeled "deceased", Judge Susan A. Peck ordered a new election to decide the Democratic party's candidate in the 5th House District race.
Candidates Leo Canty and Brandon McGee joined council and involved parties from Windsor and Hartford in superior court Wednesday anticipating Peck's decision after a second recount ended with the two candidates tied.
Everyone also eagerly anticipated Peck's decision regarding a newly-admitted ballot — a ballot cast by an elderly Windsor woman who after having been erroneously labeled "deceased" by town elections staff prior to Primary Day had her ballot invalidated.
Staff from the Windsor town clerks office and Windsor Democratic Registrar of Voters Anita Mips confirmed that the woman is alive and resides at one of the town's three nursing homes.
With the potential for the vote to swing the election in favor of either Canty of McGee, Peck said she felt it was necessary to allow the vote to count. Once opened, however, Peck observed a vote placed for Windsor Mayor Don Trinks, who placed a distant third in the primary race.
"There's no question the court is unable to determine a result in this election," Peck told the court room after revealing the elderly woman's vote, a decision she struggled with because of each voter's right to privacy.
Ultimately, Peck said the general public's right to have an elected official and the voter's right to have her vote count outweighed the court's attempts to avoid revealing which candidate she placed a vote for.
Peck did, however, enter a court order to prohibit the publication of the woman's name.
"A second recount was done in an effort to try to determine the true result of this election based on the votes cast. We've exhausted all possibilities," Peck continued with respect to coming to the decision of calling for another election.
Counsel for all parties, including the plaintiff, McGee, and Canty, concluded that there was no other option but to conduct another election.
"Thank you, Mr. Mayor," Canty said in reference to the absentee vote that, if place for McGee, would have put Canty behind by one vote.
"This is exactly what I wanted to happen five weeks ago," Canty added. "On day one I wanted a re-vote."
Canty was declared the winner of the primary following the first recount, which concluded on August 21. Official primary results reported on Primary Day, August 14, revealed Canty and McGee were tied with 774 votes a piece.
Since the first recount, McGee has described the race as "a roller coaster ride."
McGee found himself on the way up on that ride Monday when he regained a vote in Windsor's second voting district — a vote on a ballot he believed went missing, and contributed to his filing of the court complaint.
According to McGee, he has been told the election will be held on October 2.
The winner of the primary race will be placed on the ballot against Republican candidate Paul Panos.
The incumbent state representative in the newly-formed Fifth House District (Windsor, Hartford), Marie Kirkley-Bey, has announced she will retire and will not seek re-election in November.