Deceased city official's name on ballot causes dispute - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Deceased city official's name on ballot causes dispute

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Danbury City Councilman Gregg Seabury was still listed on the ballot after his death this weekend. (SOTS) Danbury City Councilman Gregg Seabury was still listed on the ballot after his death this weekend. (SOTS)
DANBURY, CT (WFSB/AP) -

There's an Election Day dispute about whether the name of a deceased Connecticut city councilmember should still appear on the ballot.

After longtime Danbury City Councilman Gregg Seabury died on Saturday, his fellow Republicans have decided to leave his name on Tuesday's ballot.

"This is an emotional time and Secretary Merrill and the staff of her office have deep sympathy for the friends and family of Councilman Seabury," Gabe Rosenberg, who is the communications director for Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The city of Danbury was unable to remove Seabury's name from the ballots by Tuesday. 

"Early yesterday afternoon, lawyers from the Secretary of the State's office informed Danbury's local election officials of the law regarding replacing a deceased candidate on the ballot. Connecticut law, in this case, is clear, and there is no basis in law to allow Gregg Seabury's name to remain on the ballot, or to treat this situation as if there is a vacancy in office," Rosenberg said. 

But Secretary of the State Denise Merrill's office contends state law is clear. If a candidate dies between 24 days and 24 hours before an election, they can be replaced with another candidate. If not, the ballots should be reprinted or the name blocked with a blank sticker or blacked out.

"It is of great concern to read news reports this morning that Danbury officials have apparently decided to ignore the clear requirements of Connecticut law. It is the position of this office that all local election officials should follow the law as written," Rosenberg said.

Local republicans said if he's elected the party can name a replacement but Merril said that is not true.  

"We'll see what happens next, but I think the laws very clear from our point of view the lawyers have looked at it and there's no other provision of the law so that's that situation," Merril said. 

Merrill's spokesman says all local election officials should follow the law as written.

Danbury Republicans argue they didn't even have 24 business hours to make a change so they disagree and so if Seabury is elected it could wind up in court. Secretary of the State's office said aside from that issue those there haven't been many other big issues.  

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.