Absentee ballot counter in contested West Haven mayoral election raises concerns over the process

News 8 Exclusive

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The election may be over, but the results of West Haven’s mayoral race are being called into question. One ballot counter News 8 spoke with said she’s supportive of the calls for a closer look at the process.

Republican Mayoral Candidate Barry Lee Cohen and his team have taken legal action, claiming this wasn’t a fair election and votes weren’t counted properly.

“The absentee ballots should all be rejected and that a special election should be scheduled,” said Vincent Marino, Cohen’s attorney.

RELATED: West Haven mayoral candidate files complaint over election results

Marino outlined to News 8 what they perceive as issues that could have impacted the outcome of the mayoral race. In the end, just 32 votes separated incumbent Mayor Nancy Rossi from Cohen.

A few of those issues alleged by Marino include absentee ballots not being properly sealed, absentee ballots not being properly endorsed, failure to reject ballots that lacked endorsement, and votes cast by people who don’t live in West Haven. He’s asking for the results of the mayoral race to be thrown out and for there to be a redo.

“The voters should have a second chance to get it right!” said Marino.

Some of these concerns were also raised by Gayle, who wished to only be identified by her first name. She took part in counting absentee ballots, which is something she’s done for decades.

“Some, in theory, rejected ballots were counted and some did not?” asked News 8’s Eva Zymaris.

“Correct!” answered Gayle.

She said she’s happy some are calling for a closer look at this process.

“It was just frustrating!” said Gayle. “It’s not who wins or loses, but you have to play it fair. And everyone has an equal chance here.”

Mayor Rossi, who was re-elected, said she believes the election was fair. She said, if there were concerns, she wishes they were addressed sooner.

“Why weren’t these complaints during the recount process?” said Mayor Rossi. “There was ample time, the moderator was there before the election was certified. Now, all these things are coming up.”

She said they will see this process through.

“It’s a lot for everyone to bear,” said Rossi. “They don’t know what to believe or who to believe, but the truth usually comes out in the end here.”

A hearing on the matter has been scheduled. It will be held virtually on Monday.

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