ANSONIA — In another twist in the tight race for the 17th Senatorial District, unofficial results now have Republican state Sen. George Logan as the victor over Democratic challenger Jorge Cabrera.
Unofficial results posted on the Secretary of State’s website on Thursday afternoon showed Logan defeated Cabrera by 65 votes, 18,513 to 18,448, to win his second term representing the district, which covers all or parts of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge.
On Wednesday, unofficial results reported on the website had Cabrera winning by 176 votes, 18,683 to 18,507, to unseat Logan, a 49-year-old Ansonia resident.
The change in numbers can be traced back to a voting machine that failed in Ansonia, according to officials.
Ansonia Republican Registrar of Voters Nancy Valentine said one of the town’s two machines malfunctioned on Election Day. She said officials were told they could feed the ballots from the broken machine into the working machine and they wouldn’t be counted more than once.
But, Valentine said, some ballots were counted more than once, causing the town to report incorrect figures to the state at first. She said officials resolved the issue, counted the ballots themselves, and the correct results were provided to the state on Thursday.
A message left with John Marini, Ansonia’s corporation counsel, on Thursday afternoon wasn’t returned.
Gabe Rosenberg, communications director for the Secretary of the State, said the office’s website reflects figures provided by municipalities. He said the results reported in the 17th District were updated on Thursday.
Cabrera said he was very surprised to learn the numbers had changed.
“We confirmed and reconfirmed each district at least four times,” said Cabrera, a 44-year-old Hamden resident. “We are baffled that they would change this number.”
Cabrera said his attorneys are looking into the matter.
“It is all happening really quickly and we are trying to gather facts. It definitely doesn’t smell right,” Cabrera said.
In a statement after the results were updated on Thursday, Democratic State Party Chair Nick Balletto said, “Over the course of the last day, the various different accounts from officials in Ansonia regarding the vote total have been inconsistent and questionable. The lack of transparency and consistency raises grave concerns about the integrity of the outcome of the election. The Democratic Party will seek any and all remedies to get to the truthful answer, including availing ourselves of the Superior Court and calling witnesses to testify.”
The race was a tight one from the start. Unofficial results had Logan, who was elected in 2016 after defeating longtime Democrat incumbent Joseph Crisco, slightly ahead of Cabrera late on election night. But, by Wednesday morning, the tide had seemingly shifted in Cabrera’s favor.
The race will go to a recount. According to the Secretary of State’s website, a recount is required when the difference in votes is less than one half of 1 percent of the total votes. The recount is handled by officials in each municipality, and it is expected to be completed next week.
“We certainly have a tight race,” Logan said. “What the numbers are showing is we have a divided community.”
Logan said he hopes the recount bears out that he won the race and he can work to help overcome the divide and improve the community as a whole.
“Whatever the results are, we have to live with them. I am holding on tight and hoping the results turn out the way I want,” Logan said.
Democratic State Party Chair Nick Balletto said, “… The Democratic Party will seek any and all remedies to get to the truthful answer, including availing ourselves of the Superior Court and calling witnesses to testify.”
You can’t sue to claim a seat. Let the recount take place and whatever happens, happens.