No Sign of Foul Play After West Haven Vote Recount - NBC Connecticut

No Sign of Foul Play After West Haven Vote Recount



    Just over a week since election day and the position for the Mayor of West Haven came down to a recount. In addition, there are also questions regarding missing security camera footage at City Hall. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013)

    A week after Decision 2013, election officials were still very busy. Today they reviewed ballots from Districts 1 through 10 for the West Haven mayoral race.

    The recanvass, more commonly known as a recount, required them to check everything twice.

    "There was a question to whether the machines did their job or not and separated them appropriately,” said head moderator Michael DiMassa. “And we've already found instances where they have not.”

    DiMassa said because of concerns about the accuracy of machines used to count votes, today they did it all by hand.

    "Once you open up that can of worms, it's much easier for me to call in every district and say let's do this again and make sure we have our right totals,” he said.

    The process was transparent for voters who watched from the sidelines. Attorneys from the state’s political parties were present too.

    "My purpose here is to ensure that at the end of the day the citizens of West Haven are comfortable that whoever's seated in the mayor's chair got there legitimately,” said Bill Beccaro, an attorney for the state Democratic Party.

    But ballots and voting machines weren't the only things being called into question – the security cameras in City Hall went dark the morning after the election and weren't turned back on until Sunday, four days later. One camera sits right outside the Office of the Registrar of Voters.

    "You know, I'm stunned. I didn't expect anything like that,” said Jayne Lacey, a West Haven voter. Lacey said she thinks it was an unfortunate coincidence and didn’t suspect foul play.

    DiMassa said when word came of the security mishap, he called in all the election officials to check the sealed votes. They found that nothing had been tampered with.

    West Haven's Department of Public Works is responsible for the surveillance system. Director Beth Sabo said her department turned over the VCR to West Haven police.

    Police said that after inspecting it, there's no sign of criminal activity.

    And at the end of the recount, five hours later, Democratic candidate Ed O'Brien still came out on top, this time winning by just 80 votes.