Three-term Republican Councilman is no stranger to contested municipal seats.
Tuesday’s election results saw one-term Republican Councilwoman winning just 14 more votes than Bauer — 3,828 to his 3,814.
In 2005, Bauer faced a similar situation when his Election Day results from Farm Hill School’s District 11 came in from four machines: 188, 179, 169 and 12. That placed him 13th in line for 12 seats, the final of which went to Democrat V. James Russo.
Bauer filed suit with the Connecticut Supreme Court and won a new citywide Common Council election on Jan. 24, 2006. He came in sixth with 2,576 votes and won the seat.
This time around, Connecticut state election law demands a recount, according to Republican Registrar of Voters .
Recanvassing on a close vote is required when the difference represents less than one-half of one percent of the total number of votes cast or less than 20 votes — both of which apply here.
“The recount will hand-tabulate all the votes for all the Council candidates,” Bauer said Wednesday.
Eager for the recount, Bauer said with voter turnout below 50 percent, it’s all the more important to be precise.
“Most importantly, elections are about an accurate accounting of the choices the voters make,” he explained. “We had 42.5 percent of active voters in Middletown participate on Nov. 8. That also means that 57.5 percent of the eligible voters did not vote.
“At least some of that non-voting comes from cynicism about the election process. I believe it is essential, when so few votes determine who will serve, and who will not serve, that we let the electorate know that their vote has been accurately tabulated.”
At GOP headquarters on election night, Kleckowski, like many of the Republican candidates in the flood of results flooding in, had difficulty determining if she had won the seat at 10 p.m., nearly an hour after Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano took the microphone and gave his concession speech.
“Of course I am disappointed and surprised that my numbers were not higher,” Kleckowski said Thursday. “This is my first recount and I am a bit nervous. I had a productive first term on Council and I received much support from the community. I have no doubt that whoever is pronounced the winner will serve the residents of Middletown well.”
She is optimistic for the results of Monday’s recount.
“I certainly hope that the recount declares me the winner and I look forward to having the privilege of once again working to improve access to City Hall, increase resources for Emergency Management, continue to increase the number of police officers and to reconciling the angst between the [Board of Education] and the city,” said Kleckowski, an adjunct instructor at Middlesex Community College.
Some town charters allow voters to petition for a re-election of municipal leaders during their elected term. Middletown is not one of them.
“Middletown does not have town meetings or recall provisions for elected officials,” Bauer said, unlike Bristol, Milford, New Haven, Stratford and Westport.
“For 729 days, elected officials dictate the course of Middletown. On the 730th day, the voters have their say,” Bauer said. We have an opportunity to prove that the choices of each and every voter have been recorded correctly.”
Bauer questioned why, in the Municipal Election Mayoral Machine and AB Totals, some candidates with multiple rows on the ballot received votes characterized as “unknown.”
“Actually nine candidates were cross-endorsed so their name appeared twice,” Gionfriddo explained. “If someone voted two times, the machine accepts the ballot but counts it once. It does not give it to Realistic Balance or Republican. It’s kind of a confusing thing.”
Middletown’s Council seat recount will be held Monday 8:30 a.m. in Council Chambers. “It’s quite a process, so it could take the bulk of the day,” Gionfriddo said.
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