Polls have closed across the state and the waiting game has begun.
Every polling place in Connecticut except two locations in Hartford closed at 8 p.m. as scheduled. Those two exemptions were among several city polling stations hampered by missing registration lists early Tuesday and remained open for an extra half hour.
The extended hours applied to District 6, the Batchelder School at 757 New Britain Avenue, and District 1, the United Methodist Church at 571 Farmington Avenue.
All registered voters who arrived at those polling stations by 8:30 p.m. were permitted to vote, but the turnout during that extra half hour was unimpressive. Only nine voters cast valid ballots after 8 p.m. at the Batchelder School.
"It was the ruling of electoral officials, either monitors or registrars, that denied people the opportunity to vote in an alternative fashion when the voting lists were not ready at 6 a.m.," Judge Carl Schuman explained, referring to voters who were stalled or turned away while waiting for registration lists to arrive.
Malloy campaign attorney William Bloss said at least 10 of the city's 24 polling places opened as late as 7:30 a.m. because voter registration lists weren't delivered on time. Schuman denied the campaign's request to extend voting hours at eight of the 10 affected precincts, because, he said, alternatives were offered.
At the Hartford Seminary, for example, voters wrote their names, addresses and phone numbers on blank pieces of paper before receiving ballots. Moderators looked at voter identification and placed the ballots in an "auxiliary pile" to be checked against the registration lists when they arrived, a witness for the Foley campaign said in court.
That wasn't the case at all polling stations, according to other witnesses. Some city residents who were forced to wait for the registration lists gave up and left for work Tuesday morning without casting their ballots.
"One guy was working in New Haven, another in West Springfield. Another lady was catching an airplane. They're not going to come back. So their votes are lost," explained Lynda Baio, who said she waited more than an hour to cast her vote at the Hartford Senior Center.
"Throughout the city, the right thing that should have taken place this morning was allow the voter to vote, write their names down and issue a ballot. We don't stop the process; I apologize if people, moderators, election officials, did not recall that from the training and put that into practice this morning," said Hartford's Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vázquez.
Although representatives from the Foley campaign said the ruling is "not really" beneficial to them, campaign communications director Mark McNulty said Republicans would abide by the judge's ruling.
"These types of snafus end up undermining confidence in elections," McNulty said. "But the show must go on."
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said after the ruling that her office "is referring these circumstances and the apparent gross dereliction of duty by Hartford's Registrars of Voters to the State Election Enforcement Commission for further investigation to determine if any state election laws were violated."
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra called the situation "inexcusable and unacceptable."
"In days to follow, we will undertake an investigation to make sure that those who are responsible for that will be held accountable for the actions or lack of actions," Segarra said during an afternoon news conference alongside Malloy. "I think that I really want to do everything possible in the next couple of days to ensure that this never, never happens again."
The governor emphasized the importance of allowing all voters to cast their ballots and said a number of votes were likely lost due to the polling problems in Hartford this morning.
“I think it is fundamental that people have the right to vote and that people have an equal right to vote, which means an equal amount of time and that the polls begin opening at the same time," Malloy said. "That clearly has not opened in here Hartford today and that is a mistake, and one that can affect people’s votes.”
President Barack Obama, who visited Connecticut over the weekend to rally support for Malloy, called into the Colin McEnroe radio show Tuesday afternoon, urging voters to get to the polls. During the interview, McEnroe asked the president about the Malloy campaign's complaint.
"We should make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to vote," Obama said.
It's the second time Malloy and Foley face off in a battle for governorship. During the 2010 election, voting problems in Bridgeport prompted extended voting hours and days of recounts before Foley conceded to Malloy.