Deceased Danbury town-councilman appears on municipal election ballot

(justgrimes/Flickr, Creative Commons)

A recently-deceased town councilman from Danbury appeared on Tuesday’s ballot in violation of Connecticut election law, according to Director of Communications for the Secretary of the State Gabe Rosenberg.

Gregg Seabury, 67, died in a local hospital on Saturday night just two days before he was slated to appear on the Danbury municipal election ballot seeking re-election as a Republican town-councilman, according to his obituary.

According to state law, any candidate who dies within 24 days of an election but at least 24 hours before it must either be replaced by the party or removed from the ballot.

As of now,  Gregg Seabury’s name currently appears unobscured on the ballot, according to Danbury Democratic Town Committee Chairman Gene Eriquez.  It is unclear what will happen to any votes cast for Seabury.

If votes in favor of Seabury are to be counted, Republican Party leaders would be able to appoint someone of their choosing to fill the vacancy, according to The News-Times.

Due to the timeframe of Seabury’s death and the inability to reprint ballots in a timely manner, Rosenberg suggested that Danbury election officials were legally required to black out or remove Seabury’s name from the ballot before the Tuesday, Nov. 7 election, according to The News-Times.

Danbury officials have contested this solution, citing a lack of time and manpower to do so.

“There really is no way that we can black out his name on more than 20,000 ballots before tomorrow’s election,” GOP Mayor Mark Boughton said Monday. “It’s impossible.”

Eriquez said although he understands the time constraints, he believes it should not be an excuse to break the law.

“There obviously are practical matters that have affected whether or not his name would appear,” Eriquez said. “They had until Monday at 2 p.m. to replace him on the ballot, but did not. We are advocating for no absentee votes or votes from today to be counted.”

Eriquez also said that he has been in contact with state and local resources in the event that he will pursue legal action.

“We have issued notice of this to the Secretary of the State, town clerks, the registrars and other organizations,” Eriquez said. “The statute is clear that since his passing occurred outside the 24-hour window, his name must be removed.”