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Opening arguments begin in Connecticut Supreme Court case over West Haven mayoral election

Defense Attorney Bill Bloss addresses state Supreme Court judges.
Defense Attorney Bill Bloss addresses state Supreme Court judges.

Opening arguments have begun in the state Supreme Court case challenging the absentee ballots that reelected Nancy Rossi in the 2021 West Haven mayoral election.

Republican candidate Barry Cohen sued Rossi and the city over the validation of 32 votes that lost him the election.

“There cannot be fair elections when public officials violate and admit to violating two-thirds of the statutory requirements,” said attorney Vincent Marino, who represented Cohen during the argument on Friday. “When that happens, the public trust is shattered.”

A lower court ruled that the 2021 mayoral election should stand, despite finding election irregularities. Superior Court Judge Robin Wilson had found that nine ballots were mishandled during the election. This was not enough to rule for a special election, so Cohen appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Defense attorney Bill Bloss said Cohen's lawsuit seeks to discredit the use of absentee ballots.

“What the plaintiff seeks to do here is to disqualify hundreds of absentee voters and the votes of hundreds of absentee voters in the city of West Haven based on claimed statutory violations that the general assembly has said should not lead to disqualification,” Bloss said.

Rossi has said the case has taken too long to consider and is concerned with how the legal fees are taking city funds from much-needed projects.

The city’s finances are already being managed by the state, because of its misuse of federal coronavirus relief funding.

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.