By ERNIE GOTTA
The Connecticut Secretary of State’s office is threatening to rule Iraq War veteran Fred Linck, the Socialist Action candidate for U.S. Senate, off the ballot. Dozens of petitions are still in the hands of town clerks (likely containing hundreds of uncounted signatures), and a cursory examination of a sample of counted signatures suggests that clerks have been illegally rejecting hundreds, if not thousands of signatures.
With more than 6700 signatures already verified, it is clear that there are easily enough valid signatures among the remaining uncounted or rejected signatures (some 4200) to bring the total above the 7500 needed for ballot status.
On Sept. 12, two campaign volunteers visited the Secretary of State’s office. Their inspection of a sample of about one-tenth the submitted signatures (less than 1300) found that:
- 71 voters were ruled off by Hartford town clerks for being “unaffiliated”—not a legal reason to reject signatures for an independent candidate!
- 25 voters were ruled off in New Haven for being “inactive”—not a legal reason to reject signatures unless the date of birth is missing (these voters have included their birth-dates)
- 72 voters’ signatures were ruled off in New London for being “illegible,” when their information is quite legible.
The violations discovered so far in the sample suggest that hundreds, and likely thousands, of signatures have been illegally rejected by town clerks. Even a conservative estimate provides enough signatures to qualify Linck for ballot status.
Volunteers also found that 56 petition sheets are missing, possibly still in town clerk offices, where they were supposed to have been checked three weeks ago; 56 petition sheets can contain up to 1680 signatures. Even half-filled, the 56 missing sheets alone would provide enough signatures to qualify Linck for ballot status. Other “independent” candidates, like Oz Griebel, a former banker and Republican Party politician, obtained ballot status by wide margins after turning in fewer signatures than Linck.
Supporters of Fred gathered on the steps of the office of the Secretary of State to show their support for the candidate and commemorate the tragedy of Sept. 11, which was used to justify horrific wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and launch a campaign of terror on our Muslim brothers and sisters here in the U.S. and abroad
Fred Linck said earlier, “Our team of volunteers worked hard for months to gather nearly 11,000 signatures. … Thousands of people want to know when they’ll see their candidate on the ballot. We want to make sure their signatures count. We are ready to examine any and all signatures discarded by counters and to defend voters’ rights to expand their choices on the November ballot.”
The candidate continued, “People in Connecticut have made it clear that they want a socialist on the ballot. Why? Because this campaign is about demanding free quality health care, education, and housing for workers and their families. Because it opposes the terror campaign waged against immigrant families and wars abroad to benefit the rich. Because this campaign stands with organized labor and working-class families against big business and government attacks.”
Secretary of State Denise Merrill should require that town clerks check and submit the missing 56 nominating petitions now. They are already three weeks past their mandated deadline. Merrill also needs to review petitions for illegally rejected signatures and ensure that all signatures from registered voters are included in the final count.
Contact Secretary of State Denise Merrill now to demand that all signatures be counted, that illegal rejection of signatures cease and be reversed. Office of the Secretary of the State: (860) 509-6200. Select the option for elections, and then the option to call as a member of the public.