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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Town Clerk Certifying Lieberman Petitions

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Westport Town Clerk Patricia Strauss and her staff are certifying almost 60 petition pages for candidates for the fall election, including incumbent U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman.WestportNow.com Image
Patricia Strauss: checking names. WN photo

Lieberman lost a primary earlier this month for the Democratic nomination to run for another term, but plans to run as an independent candidate. In order for anyone to run for an office as an independent or minority party candidate, the potential candidate must file signed petition pages to either the Secretary of the State or the local town clerk.

Strauss said not all of the pages are for Lieberman’s candidacy, but also for several other offices including governor and U.S. representative.

Each of the 58 pages she received from the state Secretary of the State’s office has space for 30-40 signatures, she said, but not every line was filled.

Included in the petitioning candidates are Lieberman, Richard Duffy for U.S. representative in District 4, Clifford Thornton for governor and Scott Merrell for governor.

The petitions had to be filed either locally or with the state by Aug. 9, which was the day after the primary.

Per state statute, Strauss said, the Secretary of the State sends the petitions to the local town clerks to certify the signatures on the pages.

“We have to verify that the people who signed the petitions are registered in Westport,” she said. “We also disqualify people for a variety of things, including if they’re not registered here, they signed the petition twice, or we can’t read the signature.”

The town clerk has 10 days to certify the petitions after they were received, she said, and she received the petitions on Aug. 11 and 16. It remains unclear if more may arrive from the state, she said.

“You never know when you can get more, but I think we’re on the home stretch,” she said.

Strauss said state officials, however, should consider changing the state law that requires local town clerks to certify the petitions.

“We now have a statewide central voter registration system, which was mandated by law,” she said. “Maybe we can have the law changed because (state officials) can check the petitions themselves. Perhaps that’s something in the future.”

Posted 08/17 at 08:01 PM
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