Kennedy holds 46-vote lead, but no winner yet in 119th District race

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

MILFORD — Just 46 votes separated the two candidates for the 119th District seat in the state House of Representatives as of Wednesday afternoon. Election officials still have not determined a winner, and Democratic Registrar of Voters Kerri Rowland said the counting could continue into Friday.

On Wednesday, a 12-person crew spent three hours counting the 319 absentee ballots that had been dropped off late Monday or arrived on Election Day. The new votes added 182 to Democrat Bryan Anderson’s tally, compared to 137 for incumbent Republican Kathy Kennedy. That brought the total so far to Kennedy 6,174 (50.18 percent) and Anderson 6,128 (49.81 percent).

The goal of the absentee ballot counters was to eliminate the possibility of duplication that may have been caused by those who voted by absentee ballot and then also voted at the polls, Rowland said. If it was discovered they did so, their absentee ballot would be rejected.

“While our checker books were at the polling place checking in voters, we didn’t feel it would be accurate for us to call and interrupt the process,” Rowland said. “The most accurate way to count absentee ballots that came in Monday evening and Tuesday was today, when we have the books in front of us.”

There are still 15 provisional ballots plus a small number of overseas and military ballots, write-ins, and hand-counted ballots to be checked. Those will all be counted but are unlikely to change the outcome, Rowland said.

Once the counting is complete, Rowland said workers would carefully double check their numbers. With so many absentee ballots, three workers were tabulating results, so in addition to the human factor of transcribing numbers, there was also the potential for human error when combining the three tapes to get a grand total, she said.

“When you’re dealing with four-digit numbers, it’s easy for things to get transposed [incorrectly],” Rowland said.

The head moderator has to submit final results within 96 hours of the polling places closing, or in this case, Saturday night. Rowland planned to beat that deadline by about 30 hours.

“We want to be open and we want to show everyone how the process works so they believe and trust our votes are being counted,” she said. “Our goal is to be done Friday, mid-day.”

Kennedy was first elected in November 2018. A Milford resident and a legal administrative assistant for the city attorney’s office, Kennedy was first elected in 2018. Previously, she also served as president of the Connecticut Parent Teacher Association. She sits on the public health and environment committees, and said issues related to those areas and fiscal concerns rank at the top of her list of priorities.

Anderson, a Milford resident and small business owner, is a retired New York City school teacher. He has previously served on Milford’s Board of Aldermen and the New Haven Board of Alders. If elected, Anderson said he’d be looking to lead tax cuts, respond to issues related to climate change and further support education issues in the state.