By SHERIDAN CYR
The Secretary of the State ordered a recount in the 30th district House of Representatives race between Joe Aresimowicz (D) and Mike Gagliardi (R). Aresimowicz was the unofficial winner, but just 37 votes separated the candidates. The recount must be completed by Wednesday, Nov. 14.
A notice was sent to the Town Clerk’s office in Berlin and Southington on Thursday, Nov. 8 to inform the clerks about the recount. Two other House districts and one Senate district were included in the letter.
“A recanvass of the votes for all candidates for the above offices are to be made as required by section 9-311 of the General Statutes,” states the notice. “You must immediately impound the voting machines, absentee ballot materials, moderator’s returns and all other notes, worksheets or written materials used in the election to be recanvassed.”
Aresimowicz and Gagliardi have both stated they are open to the recount.
“A recount is required under election law, yet with today’s modern technology used to read the ballots, the results rarely change by more than a handful of votes,” said Aresimowicz. “I look forward to the recount reaffirming my re-election, so I can continue to work hard for my constituents in Berlin and Southington.”
Gagliardi said he supports a recount because this was “a historically close election, and we owe it to the voters to insure the final result is 100 percent accurate.”
Although a recount is taking place, the House democrats have already selected Aresimowicz to serve as Speaker of the House for a second term. The caucus met on Thursday, Nov. 8 and cast a unanimous vote for Aresimowicz as the Speaker and Matt Ritter as the house majority leader. A formal vote by the full House of Representatives will be held on Jan. 9, the opening day of the 2019 legislative session.
“It is once again an honor to be entrusted by my colleagues to be their leader and have their confidence in overseeing the House of Representatives,” Aresimowicz said in a press release that came on the same day as the recount notice. “To represent the communities of Berlin and Southington that I love so much in Hartford is a privilege, that the added responsibility of serving as Speaker of the House not only enhances my ability to represent my constituents, but allows me to work to improve the quality of life for everyone in Connecticut.”
In addition, all four referendums—two state and two local—passed on last week’s ballot. Referendum results were not finished being tallied in time for last week’s edition. The two referendum questions in Southington asked voters if they would support a $2.6 million appropriation to repair a portion of the Southington High School roof, and a $2 million appropriation for open space land acquisitions.
“I am pleased with the results of the referendum,” said director of operations of Southington Public Schools, Pete Romano. “I’m thankful that the residents of the community appreciate the need to maintain the assets of the town.”
SPS is currently accepting requests for qualifications and proposals for the roof repairs. In December, they will receive funding authorization from the state, as the project includes partial reimbursement from the state. In early 2019, the project will go out to bid and a roof contractor will be awarded. After the last day of school—currently June 11, 2019—the roof construction is expected to begin. Its projected completion is mid-August.
Dawn Miceli, chair of the open space acquisition committee, said she was “beyond thrilled” of the passing of the open space referendum.
“It’s very heartening to know that our residents understand the importance of green space within our community and the overall mission of the open space program,” said Miceli. “We are actively working on acquiring several open space parcels, including one that will help preserve some of the heritage of our community,. Other potential properties are ones with water courses on them, wildlife corridors, and other natural topographic features.”
The Town Clerk certified the election results the day after the election. Southington voters supported Bob Stefanowski/Joe Markley (R) for governor/lieutenant governor, Matt Corey for U.S. Senate (R), Jennifer Nye (R) for U.S. House of Representatives, Rob Sampson (R) for 16th senatorial district, John Fusco (R) for 81st House district, Mike Gagliardi (R) for 30th House district, Gale Mastrofrancesco (R) for 80th House district and Diane Pagano for 103rd House district.
At the state level, Ned Lamont/Susan Bysiewicz (D) won governor, Chris Murphy (D) won for U.S. Senate, John Larson (D) won for U.S. House of Representatives, Sampson (R) won for 16th senatorial, Fusco (R) won for 81st House, 30th district is being recounted, Mastrofrancesco (R) took 80th House, and Liz Linehan (D) took 103rd House.
Voter turnout was high both locally and across the state. In Southington, 71.7 percent of eligible voters voted, for a total of 20,633 voters. In 2014, the most recent midterm state election, only 16,514 voters voted.
Since 2014, a total of 3,153 more people have registered to vote. A total of 4,119 more voters voted in 2018 than in 2014.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.