In Fair Haven, Chelsea Clinton may have broken election law, WTNH says

Chelsea Clinton came to New Haven to deliver breakfast — but she left accused of breaking the law.

While her mother locked horns with Barack Obama on Super Tuesday, Chelsea Clinton faced a battle of her own: against New Haven’s local television station, WTNH, and Connecticut’s election enforcement agency.

The daughter of presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 was seen bringing coffee and doughnuts to volunteers in Fair Haven when the polls opened at 6 a.m. on Super Tuesday, the Clinton campaign confirmed Tuesday night.

A camera crew for WTNH was also at the polling place and taped Clinton’s appearance.

Their report raised the question of whether Clinton’s presence at the Lombard Street polling station could have violated Connecticut’s ban on representatives of any candidate within 75 feet of a polling place on the day of a primary. But no formal complaint was filed with the state Elections Enforcement Commission.

Clinton campaign spokesman Philippe Reines said Chelsea Clinton’s departure was delayed by an interview with the WTNH crew. WTNH denied that they prevented her exit.

When polling-place moderator Nilda Torres announced the official start of voting, Clinton immediately left the station.

“I did not consider it an issue because she didn’t come here, as far as I’m concerned, to influence anything here or disrupt us,” Torres said in news reports. “She was here, I opened the polls and then she left.”

Torres did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday night.

WTNH reported that the Connecticut secretary of state’s office e-mailed the New Haven registrar of voters about the incident. Sharon Ferrucci, New Haven’s Democratic registrar, said she had only heard rumors about the incident and was not aware of any e-mail from the secretary of state.

Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz said in an interview on WTNH that she spoke to the Clinton campaign Tuesday afternoon “and they apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again.”

Bysiewicz could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

The former first daughter’s unexpected visit came the day after Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Yale Child Study Center on Monday morning.

-Issac Arnsdorf

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