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Elections board finds more mistakes

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:01 PM

The 18 voters on North Foster Street aren't the only mistakes in the board of election's computer system.

Director Tom Gerrity said this morning that 92 Wooster St. was moved to the 4th Ward and should be in the 1st Ward and 34 James St. was placed in the 3rd Ward and should be in the 2nd Ward.

Gerrity vowed that similar mistakes won't be made in the future.

"There was an error made. We acknowledged that there was an error made. We're going to make sure that this type of thing doesn't happen again," he said.

He said both the director and deputy director, a Republican and a Democrat, will enter in any changes and they will ask the county's tax map office to help.

Kathy Kuhlman, of the tax map office, gave the board of elections a map with accurate ward boundaries three weeks ago. Board of elections staff used that map to discover the mistakes in the computer system.

Gerrity said the mistakes were entered into the computer system in 2003. The office has gone through a computer conversion since then and has no records to show who entered the incorrect information. He said the current computer system documents who enters any information into the system.

Gerrity said he thought the director and deputy director always entered ward changes into the system, but he can't verify that was what happened in 2003. "Nobody's been able to tell me what the actual step-by-step process was when they did these things before," he said.

Heather Blair was the director and Pat Smith was the deputy director in March of 2003, but neither currently works for the board. Gerrity said that was when the incorrect information was entered.

Board members at the time were Richard Hauser, David Kniffin, Susan Ruggles and Pat Saunders.

Gerrity said the office is ready to correct the mistakes, but is waiting for advice from the secretary of state to find out if they should make the changes immediately or wait until after the Dec. 11 special election. The mistakes won't make any difference to the election, he said, and it might cause confusion for the voters would have to vote at a different location.

The controversy over mistakes in the board of election records started on Nov. 6 when Jim Orth questioned Lynn Chapin's residency in the 1st Ward. She was on the ballot for the 1st Ward council seat.

Chapin lives on North Foster Street and was told in 2003 that her home was moved from the 4th Ward to the 1st Ward because city council changed ward boundaries to keep the wards even. She found out this week after a recount that she lost by four votes to Scott Krichbaum.

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