Recount ordered for 33rd state Senate District

The Secretary of the State's Office has ordered a recount of votes for the 33rd Senate District race between Norm Needleman and Melissa Ziobron.

Gabe Rosenberg, communications director for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said in an email Thursday that the race is now "within the margin of a close vote recanvass" due to a reporting error in Essex that was reported to the Secretary of the State's Office on Thursday.

The difference between the two candidates is a total of 137 votes for the 33rd District, with 25,387 votes for Needleman and 25,250 for Ziobron, according to a letter to town clerks in the 33rd District from Theodore E. Bromley, staff attorney for the Secretary of the State.

The office has asked the 33rd District towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook to complete the recanvasses by Monday, Nov. 19.

Bromley said in a notice to the town clerks that just "recently have towns in your district reviewed and amended Head Moderator's returns with our office" and the change in the vote total means a recount is necessary.

"I feel it is important to remind you all of the statutory duty imposed upon the Town Clerk, Registrar of Voters and Head Moderator; a statutory duty that was supported by the Town Clerks Association and Registrars of Voters Association," Bromley wrote. "Had this statutory duty been complied with, a recanvass would have been identified by Friday, November 9, 2018."

He said the statutory deadline for a recanvass was Wednesday but "the main goal of all election officials is to ensure that candidate vote totals are correct and that the public has confidence in the process.

Needleman, a Democrat and Essex first selectman, won against Ziobron, a Republican from East Haddam who currently serves as a state representative in 34th District, in a race for Art Linares' Senate seat that was too close to call on Election Night.

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