Recounts leave no doubts

A few recounts were required in races for seats on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) -- the town's legislative body -- but in the end, they were controversy-free.

Fairfield won't have a prolonged situation on its hands like the country had in 2000 between Al Gore and George W. Bush, or more recently, the situation in Minnesota, where it took nearly eight months for Al Franken to be confirmed as a state Senator over rival Republican incumbent Norm Coleman.

When all the recounting was done in Fairfield, the numbers changed slightly in some cases, but "all the people that were elected last Tuesday remained the same," said head moderator Steve Elworthy, who was chairman of the Republican Town Committee two years ago when businessman John Nelson attempted to unseat First Selectman Ken Flatto.

Recounts were required in RTM districts 5, 6 and 7. State statutes mandate a recount, according to Republican registrar Roger Autori, when an apparent winning candidate receives "a vote equivalent to one-half of 1 percent of the total votes cast for the office but not more than 2,000 votes," or if the difference in votes separating the candidates is less than 20.

In District 5, Republican Len Benton's tally dipped from 323 votes to 318 while Democrat Joshua Garskof's total rose from 326 to 327.

In District 6, Republican Brenda Kupchick -- who is leaving her post on the Board of Education -- saw her vote count of 547 remain the same. Democrat Mark Corcoran, on the other hand, saw his tally increase slightly from 540 votes to 541.

In District 7, Republican William Llewellyn went down a vote, from 468 to 467, while fellow Republican candidate Timothy Lynch stayed the same at 469 votes. However, three Democrats in District 7 saw their totals rise. David Cullen went from 515 votes to 517; Harold Schwartz rose from 463 to 466 votes and Paul Cramer saw his tally bump up to 464 from an initial 461 votes, according to Autori. Each of the RTM's 10 districts had 10 candidates (five Democrats and five Republicans). Residents had the option to vote for any five.

Autori said the recounting took place Monday morning at both Old Town Hall and the Oldfield Annex at the town's senior center property. Absentee ballots were tallied at Old Town Hall.

Elworthy said this year's recount effort was reminiscent of recounts that took place two years ago.

"[The winners] ended up being the same as it was in the election," he said.

Elworthy said the recount -- and the minor vote total changes as a result of it -- shows that the "machines are pretty accurate."

In other election news, Michael Hahn was denied a spot on the Town Plan and Zoning Commission despite earning 700 more votes than his closest Democratic rival, incumbent Richard Jacobs.

State minority representation rules mandate that a minority party must have a certain number of seats. Four Republican candidates for TPZ received the most votes, but because Republican Bryan LeClerc and Donald D'Andrea remain on the board until 2011, the total for the seven-person board would be five Republicans and two Democrats. Minority representation rules state that there must be at least two Democrats, which opened the door for Jacobs. He is joined by Democrat James Kennelly.

In a letter to the Fairfield Citizen, Hahn wrote: "Minority representation is a very important tool to prevent one-party rule and although it worked against me personally, I support the continued practice."

Hahn added, "I hope that Mr. Kenelly and Mr. Jacobs heard the voices of the voters as well and will change their approach to the way they represent the citizens of Fairfield."

Addressing the voters, he wrote, "I will continue to work as hard as I can to better Fairfield and look forward to working with your neighbors and friends to make Fairfield and even better place to live and raise a family. Thank you all again for your support and I hope to garner it again in future endeavors."