CHAPTER 149
ELECTIONS AND PRIMARIES: CONTESTED

Table of Contents

Sec. 9-323. Contests and complaints in election of presidential electors, U.S. senator and representative.
Sec. 9-324. Contests and complaints in election of state officers and judges of probate.
Sec. 9-328. Contests and complaints in election of municipal officers and nomination of justices of the peace.
Sec. 9-329a. (Formerly Sec. 9-449). Contests and complaints in connection with any primary.

      Sec. 9-323. Contests and complaints in election of presidential electors, U.S. senator and representative. Any elector or candidate who claims that he is aggrieved by any ruling of any election official in connection with any election for presidential electors and for a senator in Congress and for representative in Congress or any of them, held in his town, or that there was a mistake in the count of the votes cast at such election for candidates for such electors, senator in Congress and representative in Congress, or any of them, at any voting district in his town, or any candidate for such an office who claims that he is aggrieved by a violation of any provision of section 9-355, 9-357 to 9-361, inclusive, 9-364, 9-364a or 9-365 in the casting of absentee ballots at such election, may bring his complaint to any judge of the Supreme Court, in which he shall set out the claimed errors of such election official, the claimed errors in the count or the claimed violations of said sections. In any action brought pursuant to the provisions of this section, the complainant shall send a copy of the complaint by first-class mail, or deliver a copy of the complaint by hand, to the State Elections Enforcement Commission. If such complaint is made prior to such election, such judge shall proceed expeditiously to render judgment on the complaint and shall cause notice of the hearing to be given to the Secretary of the State and the State Elections Enforcement Commission. If such complaint is made subsequent to the election, it shall be brought not later than fourteen days after the election or, if such complaint is brought in response to the manual tabulation of paper ballots authorized pursuant to section 9-320f, such complaint shall be brought not later than seven days after the close of any such manual tabulation, and in either such circumstance, the judge shall forthwith order a hearing to be had upon such complaint, upon a day not more than five or less than three days from the making of such order, and shall cause notice of not less than three or more than five days to be given to any candidate or candidates whose election may be affected by the decision upon such hearing, to such election official, to the Secretary of the State, to the State Elections Enforcement Commission and to any other party or parties whom such judge deems proper parties thereto, of the time and place for the hearing upon such complaint. Such judge, with two other judges of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Court Administrator, shall, on the day fixed for such hearing and without unnecessary delay, proceed to hear the parties. If sufficient reason is shown, such judges may order any voting machines to be unlocked or any ballot boxes to be opened and a recount of the votes cast, including absentee ballots, to be made. Such judges shall thereupon, in the case they, or any two of them, find any error in the rulings of the election official, any mistake in the count of such votes or any violation of said sections, certify the result of their finding or decision, or the finding or decision of a majority of them, to the Secretary of the State before the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. Such judges may order a new election or a change in the existing election schedule, provided such order complies with Section 302 of the Help America Vote Act, P.L. 107-252, as amended from time to time. Such certificate of such judges, or a majority of them, shall be final upon all questions relating to the rulings of such election officials, to the correctness of such count and, for the purposes of this section only, such claimed violations, and shall operate to correct the returns of the moderators or presiding officers so as to conform to such finding or decision.

      (1949 Rev., S. 1107; 1953, S. 801d; 1963, P.A. 307; P.A. 78-125, S. 6; P.A. 83-583, S. 2, 6; P.A. 84-511, S. 4, 15; P.A. 87-545, S. 1; P.A. 88-364, S. 14, 123; P.A. 95-88, S. 4; P.A. 04-74, S. 1; P.A. 05-288, S. 47; P.A. 07-194, S. 2.)

      History: 1963 act added provisions re defeated candidate in first sentence, increased time within which a complaint may be brought from 3 to 10 days after election, clarified the counting of absentee ballots and changed the date by which certification must be made; P.A. 78-125 added candidate as claimant to aggrievement, deleted "the moderator of any election" following "ruling of" and substituted "any election official in connection with any election", deleted provisions pertaining to defeated candidates, provided for judge to proceed expeditiously on complaint when made prior to election, provided for notice of hearing to election official, changed authority to assign judges to hear case to the chief court administrator, provided that judges may order a new election or a change in the existing election schedule and deleted provision for substitution in case judge unable to serve; P.A. 83-583 required a complainant to send or deliver a copy of the complaint to the state elections commission and required a judge to give notice of a hearing to the secretary of the state and the state elections commission; P.A. 84-511 changed name of elections commission to elections enforcement commission; P.A. 87-545 allowed candidate to bring complaint under this section if he claims that he is aggrieved by violation of any provision of Secs. 9-355, 9-357 to 9-361, inclusive, 9-364, 9-364a or 9-365 in casting of absentee ballots; P.A. 88-364 made technical change; P.A. 95-88 changed time within which a complaint shall be brought from 10 to 14 days; P.A. 04-74 qualified judges' authority to order a new election or a change in existing election schedule by adding ", provided such order complies with Section 302 of the Help America Vote Act, P.L. 107-252, as amended from time to time", effective May 10, 2004; P.A. 05-288 made technical changes, effective July 13, 2005; P.A. 07-194 added deadline for filing of complaint if complaint is brought in response to manual tabulation of paper ballots authorized pursuant to Sec. 9-320f and made technical changes, effective July 5, 2007.

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      Sec. 9-324. Contests and complaints in election of state officers and judges of probate. Any elector or candidate who claims that such elector or candidate is aggrieved by any ruling of any election official in connection with any election for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, State Comptroller or judge of probate, held in such elector's or candidate's town, or that there has been a mistake in the count of the votes cast at such election for candidates for said offices or any of them, at any voting district in such elector's or candidate's town, or any candidate for such an office who claims that such candidate is aggrieved by a violation of any provision of section 9-355, 9-357 to 9-361, inclusive, 9-364, 9-364a or 9-365 in the casting of absentee ballots at such election or any candidate for the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the State, State Treasurer, Attorney General or State Comptroller, who claims that such candidate is aggrieved by a violation of any provision of sections 9-700 to 9-716, inclusive, may bring such elector's or candidate's complaint to any judge of the Superior Court, in which such elector or candidate shall set out the claimed errors of such election official, the claimed errors in the count or the claimed violations of said sections. In any action brought pursuant to the provisions of this section, the complainant shall send a copy of the complaint by first-class mail, or deliver a copy of the complaint by hand, to the State Elections Enforcement Commission. If such complaint is made prior to such election, such judge shall proceed expeditiously to render judgment on the complaint and shall cause notice of the hearing to be given to the Secretary of the State and the State Elections Enforcement Commission. If such complaint is made subsequent to the election, it shall be brought not later than fourteen days after the election or, if such complaint is brought in response to the manual tabulation of paper ballots authorized pursuant to section 9-320f, such complaint shall be brought not later than seven days after the close of any such manual tabulation and, in either such circumstance, such judge shall forthwith order a hearing to be had upon such complaint, upon a day not more than five nor less than three days from the making of such order, and shall cause notice of not less than three nor more than five days to be given to any candidate or candidates whose election may be affected by the decision upon such hearing, to such election official, the Secretary of the State, the State Elections Enforcement Commission and to any other party or parties whom such judge deems proper parties thereto, of the time and place for the hearing upon such complaint. Such judge shall, on the day fixed for such hearing and without unnecessary delay, proceed to hear the parties. If sufficient reason is shown, such judge may order any voting machines to be unlocked or any ballot boxes to be opened and a recount of the votes cast, including absentee ballots, to be made. Such judge shall thereupon, in case such judge finds any error in the rulings of the election official, any mistake in the count of the votes or any violation of said sections, certify the result of such judge's finding or decision to the Secretary of the State before the fifteenth day of the next succeeding December. Such judge may order a new election or a change in the existing election schedule. Such certificate of such judge of such judge's finding or decision shall be final and conclusive upon all questions relating to errors in the rulings of such election officials, to the correctness of such count, and, for the purposes of this section only, such claimed violations, and shall operate to correct the returns of the moderators or presiding officers, so as to conform to such finding or decision, unless the same is appealed from as provided in section 9-325.

      (1949 Rev., S. 1105; 1953, S. 802d; 1963, P.A. 363; P.A. 78-125, S. 7; P.A. 83-583, S. 3, 6; P.A. 84-511, S. 5, 15; P.A. 87-545, S. 2; P.A. 95-88, S. 5; P.A. 00-99, S. 32, 154; Oct. 25 Sp. Sess. P.A. 05-5, S. 43; P.A. 07-194, S. 3.)

      History: 1963 act added provisions re defeated candidate in first sentence, increased time within which complaint may be brought from 3 to 10 days after election, clarified counting of absentee ballots and changed date by which certification of decision must be made; P.A. 78-125 changed application to "any elector or candidate who claims that he is aggrieved by any ruling of an election official in connection with any election", added sheriff and judge of probate to the enumerated offices, deleted provisions pertaining to defeated candidates, provided for expeditious handling of complaints made prior to election, provided for notice to "such election official", provided that judge may order a new election or a change in the existing election schedule and deleted provision for substitution in case judge unable to serve; P.A. 83-583 required a complainant to send or deliver a copy of the complaint to the state elections commission and required a judge to give notice of a hearing to the secretary of the state and the state elections commission; P.A. 84-511 changed name of elections commission to elections enforcement commission; P.A. 87-545 allowed candidate to bring complaint under this section if he claims that he is aggrieved by violation of any provision of Secs. 9-355, 9-357 to 9-361, inclusive, 9-364, 9-364a or 9-365 in casting of absentee ballots; P.A. 95-88 changed time within which a complaint shall be brought from 10 to 14 days; P.A. 00-99 deleted reference to sheriff, effective December 1, 2000; Oct. 25 Sp. Sess. P.A. 05-5 authorized complaint by candidate for state office who claims aggrievement by violation of provision of Secs. 9-700 to 9-716, inclusive, and made technical changes, effective December 31, 2006, and applicable to elections held on or after that date; P.A. 07-194 added deadline for filing of complaint if complaint is brought in response to manual tabulation of paper ballots authorized pursuant to Sec. 9-320f, effective July 5, 2007.

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      Sec. 9-328. Contests and complaints in election of municipal officers and nomination of justices of the peace. Any elector or candidate claiming to have been aggrieved by any ruling of any election official in connection with an election for any municipal office or a primary for justice of the peace, or any elector or candidate claiming that there has been a mistake in the count of votes cast for any such office at such election or primary, or any candidate in such an election or primary claiming that he is aggrieved by a violation of any provision of sections 9-355, 9-357 to 9-361, inclusive, 9-364, 9-364a or 9-365 in the casting of absentee ballots at such election or primary, may bring a complaint to any judge of the Superior Court for relief therefrom. In any action brought pursuant to the provisions of this section, the complainant shall send a copy of the complaint by first-class mail, or deliver a copy of the complaint by hand, to the State Elections Enforcement Commission. If such complaint is made prior to such election or primary, such judge shall proceed expeditiously to render judgment on the complaint and shall cause notice of the hearing to be given to the Secretary of the State and the State Elections Enforcement Commission. If such complaint is made subsequent to such election or primary, it shall be brought not later than fourteen days after such election or primary, except that if such complaint is brought in response to the manual tabulation of paper ballots, authorized pursuant to section 9-320f, such complaint shall be brought not later than seven days after the close of any such manual tabulation, to any judge of the Superior Court, in which he shall set out the claimed errors of the election official, the claimed errors in the count or the claimed violations of said sections. Such judge shall forthwith order a hearing to be had upon such complaint, upon a day not more than five nor less than three days from the making of such order, and shall cause notice of not less than three nor more than five days to be given to any candidate or candidates whose election or nomination may be affected by the decision upon such hearing, to such election official, the Secretary of the State, the State Elections Enforcement Commission and to any other party or parties whom such judge deems proper parties thereto, of the time and place for the hearing upon such complaint. Such judge shall, on the day fixed for such hearing and without unnecessary delay, proceed to hear the parties. If sufficient reason is shown, he may order any voting machines to be unlocked or any ballot boxes to be opened and a recount of the votes cast, including absentee ballots, to be made. Such judge shall thereupon, if he finds any error in the rulings of the election official or any mistake in the count of the votes, certify the result of his finding or decision to the Secretary of the State before the tenth day succeeding the conclusion of the hearing. Such judge may order a new election or primary or a change in the existing election schedule. Such certificate of such judge of his finding or decision shall be final and conclusive upon all questions relating to errors in the ruling of such election officials, to the correctness of such count, and, for the purposes of this section only, such claimed violations, and shall operate to correct the returns of the moderators or presiding officers, so as to conform to such finding or decision, except that this section shall not affect the right of appeal to the Supreme Court and it shall not prevent such judge from reserving such questions of law for the advice of the Supreme Court as provided in section 9-325. Such judge may, if necessary, issue his writ of mandamus, requiring the adverse party and those under him to deliver to the complainant the appurtenances of such office, and shall cause his finding and decree to be entered on the records of the Superior Court in the proper judicial district.

      (1949 Rev., S. 527; 1953, S. 806d; 1957, P.A. 526, S. 7; 1963, P.A. 163; P.A. 74-109, S. 8, 11; P.A. 78-125, S. 9; P.A. 83-583, S. 4, 6; P.A. 84-511, S. 6, 15; P.A. 87-545, S. 3; P.A. 95-88, S. 6; P.A. 07-194, S. 5.)

      History: 1963 act reduced time within which a complaint may be brought from 60 to 10 days after the election and conformed procedure to be followed to that for contests in state offices; P.A. 74-109 changed reference to "election" to the office of justice of the peace to "nominated of a primary" and conformed the other references to that office accordingly, effective upon adoption of Senate Joint Resolution No. 22 of the 1973 session as an amendment to the constitution of Connecticut; P.A. 78-125 clarified application of section to "elector or candidate claiming to have been aggrieved by any ruling of any election official in connection with an election", provided for expeditious handling of complaint made prior to election or primary and where complaint is made subsequent to election or primary, for notice to election official, further provided that judge may order a new election or primary or a change in the existing election schedule, deleted qualification of "for the reservation of questions arising therefrom" to the right of appeal to the supreme court and also deleted the qualification "by consent of all parties" from "reserving such questions of law" and cross referenced Sec. 9-325, and deleted provision for substitution in case judge unable to serve; P.A. 83-583 required a complainant to send or deliver a copy of the complaint to the state elections commission and required a judge to give notice of a hearing to the secretary of the state and the state elections commission; P.A. 84-511 changed name of elections commission to elections enforcement commission; P.A. 87-545 allowed candidate to bring complaint under this section if he claims that he is aggrieved by violation of any provision of Secs. 9-355, 9-357 to 9-361, inclusive, 9-364, 9-364a or 9-365 in casting of absentee ballots; P.A. 95-88 changed time within which a complaint shall be brought from 10 to 14 days; P.A. 07-194 added deadline for filing of complaint if complaint is brought in response to manual tabulation of paper ballots authorized pursuant to Sec. 9-320f and made technical changes, effective July 5, 2007.

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      Sec. 9-329a. (Formerly Sec. 9-449). Contests and complaints in connection with any primary. (a) Any (1) elector or candidate aggrieved by a ruling of an election official in connection with any primary held pursuant to (A) section 9-423, 9-425 or 9-464, or (B) a special act, (2) elector or candidate who alleges that there has been a mistake in the count of the votes cast at such primary, or (3) candidate in such a primary who alleges that he is aggrieved by a violation of any provision of sections 9-355, 9-357 to 9-361, inclusive, 9-364, 9-364a or 9-365 in the casting of absentee ballots at such primary, may bring his complaint to any judge of the Superior Court for appropriate action. In any action brought pursuant to the provisions of this section, the complainant shall send a copy of the complaint by first-class mail, or deliver a copy of the complaint by hand, to the State Elections Enforcement Commission. If such complaint is made prior to such primary such judge shall proceed expeditiously to render judgment on the complaint and shall cause notice of the hearing to be given to the Secretary of the State and the State Elections Enforcement Commission. If such complaint is made subsequent to such primary it shall be brought, not later than fourteen days after such primary, or if such complaint is brought in response to the manual tabulation of paper ballots, described in section 9-320f, such complaint shall be brought, not later than seven days after the close of any such manual tabulation, to any judge of the Superior Court.

      (b) Such judge shall forthwith order a hearing to be held upon such complaint upon a day not more than five nor less than three days after the making of such order, and shall cause notice of not less than three days to be given to any candidate or candidates in any way directly affected by the decision upon such hearing, to such election official, to the Secretary of the State, the State Elections Enforcement Commission and to any other person or persons, whom such judge deems proper parties thereto, of the time and place of the hearing upon such complaint. Such judge shall, on the day fixed for such hearing, and without delay, proceed to hear the parties and determine the result. If, after hearing, sufficient reason is shown, such judge may order any voting machines to be unlocked or any ballot boxes to be opened and a recount of the votes cast, including absentee ballots, to be made. Such judge shall thereupon, if he finds any error in the ruling of the election official, any mistake in the count of the votes or any violation of said sections, certify the result of his finding or decision to the Secretary of the State before the tenth day following the conclusion of the hearing. Such judge may (1) determine the result of such primary; (2) order a change in the existing primary schedule; or (3) order a new primary if he finds that but for the error in the ruling of the election official, any mistake in the count of the votes or any violation of said sections, the result of such primary might have been different and he is unable to determine the result of such primary.

      (c) The certification by the judge of his finding or decision shall be final and conclusive upon all questions relating to errors in the ruling of such election official, to the correctness of such count, and, for the purposes of this section only, such alleged violations, and shall operate to correct any returns or certificates filed by the election officials, unless the same is appealed from as provided in section 9-325. In the event a new primary is held pursuant to such Superior Court order, the result of such new primary shall be final and conclusive unless a complaint is brought pursuant to this section. The clerk of the court shall forthwith transmit a copy of such findings and order to the Secretary of the State.

      (June, 1955, S. 608d; November, 1955, S. N93; 1958 Rev., S. 9-121; 1963, P.A. 17, S. 73; 1969, P.A. 622, S. 1; P.A. 78-125, S. 12; P.A. 82-426, S. 7, 14; P.A. 83-583, S. 5, 6; P.A. 84-511, S. 7, 15; P.A. 86-164, S. 1, 2; P.A. 87-203, S. 1; 87-545, S. 4; P.A. 95-88, S. 7; P.A. 97-154, S. 3, 27; P.A. 03-241, S. 7; P.A. 07-194, S. 4.)

      History: 1963 act restated prior provisions; 1969 act clarified application of section as to who may bring complaint and expanded the remedies available; P.A. 78-125 further clarified who may bring complaint and provided for expeditious handling of complaint made prior to primary and deleted provision for substitution of judge; in 1979 Sec. 9-449 transferred to Sec. 9-329a; P.A. 82-426 amended section to apply to paper ballots and absentee ballots, to allow judge to change primary schedule and to order new primary; P.A. 83-583 required a complainant to send or deliver a copy of the complaint to the state elections commission and required a judge to give notice of a hearing to the secretary of the state and the state elections commission; P.A. 84-511 changed name of elections commission to elections enforcement commission; P.A. 86-164 changed time limit for appeal from 3 to 5 days; P.A. 87-203 changed time limit for appeal from 5 to 10 days; P.A. 87-545 allowed candidate to bring complaint under this section if he claims that he is aggrieved by violation of any provision of Secs. 9-355, 9-357 to 9-361, inclusive, 9-364, 9-364a or 9-365 in casting of absentee ballots; P.A. 95-88 changed time within which a complaint shall be brought from 10 to 14 days; P.A. 97-154 divided section into Subsecs., inserted Subdiv. and Subpara. indicators in Subsec. (a), adding Subdiv. (1)(B) re primary held pursuant to a special act, effective July 1, 1997 (Revisor's note: In Subsec. (a)(2) the word "or" in the phrase "candidate or who" was deleted editorially by the Revisors for grammatical correctness); P.A. 03-241 deleted reference to Sec. 9-424 and made technical changes in Subsec. (a)(1), effective January 1, 2004, and applicable to primaries and elections held on or after that date; P.A. 07-194 amended Subsec. (a) to add deadline for filing of complaint if complaint is brought in response to manual tabulation of paper ballots authorized pursuant to Sec. 9-320f and make a technical change, effective July 5, 2007.

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