Probate judge to run as write-in candidate after ballot glitch

Four weeks before the November election, Salem attorney and Judge of Probate John W. Butts announced he will run as a write-in candidate for the 32nd Probate District.

Butts was endorsed by the Democratic Party to run for probate judge for the towns of East Lyme, Montville, Old Lyme and Salem. He is running against Republican Jeffrey A. McNamara, the East Lyme probate judge.

Butts is still seeking the seat, despite being left off the ballot because the secretary of the state's office did not receive a certificate of party endorsement within two weeks of the May 11 Democratic convention in Montville.

He sought an injunction in Superior Court in Hartford, asking the court to defer publishing a list of the candidates until a full hearing is held and to order Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz to place his name on the ballot. Judge Elliott P. Prescott denied the request.

Butts appealed to the state Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in the case in September and affirmed Prescott's ruling. The court issued a ruling from the bench and said it would follow up with a written decision.

Butts said he has not received that written decision.

Since then, he has met with state party officials in an effort to be renominated by the Democratic party and secure his place on the ballot. He sent out e-mails urging his supporters to contact the Democratic State Central Committee to make this happen.

In an e-mail Saturday, Butts said the state Democratic Party's attorney has been told by a representative of the secretary of the state that "there is no way to put a Democrat on the ballot" for Judge of Probate serving East Lyme, Montville, Old Lyme and Salem.

The deadline for write-in candidates to register with the secretary of the state's office is Oct. 19.

"I intend to honor the wishes of district Democrats, convention delegates and voters who have contacted me and urged me to press on. I will provide voters a choice by being a 'write in' candidate on the November 2 ballots for East Lyme, Montville, Old Lyme and Salem," Butts wrote.

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