Tuesday night’s Ward 1 aldermanic race was the closest in recent history — close enough to trigger an automatic recount by the Connecticut Secretary of State’s Office.
Ward 1 Alder Sarah Eidelson ’12 beat Republican challenger Ugonna Eze ’16 by a 17-vote margin. While Eidelson originally held a 50-vote margin of victory at the New Haven Free Public Library — the main polling place for Ward 1 — the count of the same-day registration votes at City Hall dropped the margin below the 20-vote threshold necessary to force a recount in the race. Connecticut state law mandates that the recount must be completed by Nov. 10.
Eidelson said Wednesday she knew an automatic recount was underway, but said she was unaware of its details.
Tyler Blackmon ’16, president of the Yale College Democrats and a staff columnist for the News, said he doubts the recount will cause the result of the election to change.
“I don’t know the full details, but my understanding is that it’s just close enough that it’s required by law,” Blackmon said. “I certainly don’t expect for things to change substantially either way.”
Mollie Johnson ’18, Eze’s campaign manager, said the campaign looks forward to hearing the outcome of the recount.
The turnout of 759 voters at the polls was high, nearly matching the figure achieved during Eidelson’s 2013 race against Republican challenger Paul Chandler ’14. The line stretched outside the door in the hours before polls closed and the last ballot was not cast until 8:30 p.m. — a half hour after the official closing time. Poll moderator Andria Gieryk turned away roughly 10 voters from the polls after 8:00 p.m. when the polls closed.
Recounts are uncommon in Connecticut elections. In 2014, no race for state legislature proceeded to a recount, and no mayoral race in New Haven has gone to a recount in at least four decades.
However, irregularities in Bridgeport’s ballot count forced a two-week long recount of 6,000 ballots following Gov. Dannel Malloy’s 2010 race against Republican Tom Foley.
No other aldermanic race in New Haven will go to a recount this year. Beaver Hills incumbent Claudette Robinson-Thorpe’s 274-vote margin of defeat to endorsed Democrat Jill Marks was the city’s second-tightest victory.