October 25, 2008

More than 13,000 new ballots needed in the 79th District

Some people have likely already cast a vote that won’t be counted.

The apparent suicide of Republican state House candidate Derek Jerome in the 79th District forced election officials to reprint13,300 ballots for voters in his district to use at the polls on Nov. 4.

But it was too late for those who have already voted by absentee ballot.

Republican Registrar Ellie Klapatch said that absentee votes for Jerome, whose name appears on the first run of ballots, won’t be counted.

Election officials also had to send the counting machine memory cards to a Massachusetts company to have them reprogrammed to take into account the change in the 79th District’s Republican candidate.

The GOP’s decision to name a successor candidate for the position, David L. Norton, had no impact on the necessity to reprint ballots, officials said.

“They were going to have to reprint all the ballots anyway,” said city Republican Chairman T.J. Barnes.

Barnes and Klapatch said that if the party hadn’t named Norton to take Jerome’s place, the new ballots would simply have had an empty slot for the Republicans in the race against incumbent state Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Democrat.

It isn’t clear how much the scramble to fix the ballots and reprogram memory cards is costing taxpayers, though it certainly reaches into the thousands of dollars.

Klapatch said that the federal government is picking up the tab for ballots this year – part of a national effort to modernize voting – so city taxpayers don’t have to cover the expense, as they normally would.

She said she has “no ideas” how much the reprinting will cost.

It’s not clear yet whether the absentee ballots that include Jerome’s name can be counted by machines or if they’ll have to be counted by hand, Klapatch said. The city clerk and the secretary of state are looking into it.

Klapatch said that the changes required “a lot of extra work” by many officials, including her office and the city clerk’s office.

But, she said, she appreciates “the team effort” by everyone involved to speed the work along so that it would be done in plenty of time for Election Day.

“I’m amazed we got all this done,” Klapatch said.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

Make Barne$$$$ pay for them.

Anonymous said...

Why is this Norton guy running anyway? Dave Norton stated that he hoped his opponent Nicastro would win and that he's "doing a great job". A town commitee member can't find any fault at all with the opposition? Perhaps he thinks he's runing agaist Christ? What's the reason to even have a GOP party in the 79th (or 3rd Council District, the other office Nicastro holds)? Just leave Jerome's name on the ballot and then the entire town committee in the precict should resign.

Anonymous said...

My compliments to Therese Pac and her staff for getting this done in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

October 26, 2008 8:48 PM Poster,

In answer to your question....
Because of Mr. Jerome's death he could not be left on the ballot. Mr. Norton put his name in out of respect for Mr. Jerome who believed strongly in voters having a choice. And, for the record the ballots would have needed to be reprinted to remove Mr. Jerome's name even if Mr. Norton did not offer his name.

Anonymous said...

I agree it was a bit much for Mr. Norton to be praising Nicastro so openly in the 79th, but it is a tough time for all, and a very sensitive situation. It is what it is. 2008 (is done in terms of the GOP in the 79th, obviously. Let the criticism and calls to action go towards the 2010 race in the 79th at this point. (or other races, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Hey, maybe Frank is doing a great job. Did you ever think of THAT?

Anonymous said...

No, but I am sure that Frank did and does and does .....

Anonymous said...

if you doubt that frank is doing a good job, just give him a call. he'll straighten you out and let you know the reasons that you should vote for him over norton.

Anonymous said...


Too late, he already called me.