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Weston Officials Blast State's Election Audit

WESTON, Conn. – Weston has been randomly picked by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill as one of the 73 polling precincts to be audited from the Nov. 8 election — and no one in Town Hall is happy about it.

“Am I happy about this? Of course I am not happy about it. This is ridiculous, it’s an unfunded mandate,” said First Selectman Gayle Weinstein.

The audit, which is a hand counting of votes, is required under Connecticut General Statutes and is done at random. A total of 726 polling precincts were open across the state election night, and 10 percent of those places were chosen for the audit.

Not every vote cast in Weston will be audited; only the ballots from three randomly chosen races need to be recounted. Those three races will be determined by drawing names out of a hat Tuesday in the town clerk’s office.

The purpose of the audit is to make sure voting machines are working correctly, Merrill said. “With this audit, we now must take the step of checking the machine totals from Nov. 8 to ensure the accuracy of our optical scanners. We are committed to making sure Connecticut voters have continued confidence that their votes were recorded accurately, and that’s why these independent audits are so vital.”

The actual hand counting of the three races, Weinstein said, will happen Saturday at Town Hall. But she said the audit is unfair because the town must pay poll workers to spend the day counting votes. Weinstein estimates the audit could cost taxpayers $2,500.

“We have to sit here and count each ballot by hand. I can’t believe it,” said Laura Smits, the Democratic registrar of voter. “I am hoping we get this finished in one day, but who knows. This is costing us a lot of money."

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