SEEC Dismisses Complaint Against Poll Worker in New Canaan

State officials on Wednesday dismissed a complaint regarding a poll worker stationed at New Canaan High School on Election Day last year. The Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission voted 4-0 during its regular meeting to dismiss the complaint lodged Feb. 14 by Christina Fagerstal and Lisa Hannich—current and immediate past chairs, respectively, of the New Canaan Democratic Town Committee. In it, the complainants said that poll worker Allison Totaro on Nov. 2 at least five times “used her position to intentionally influence the vote by telling voter[s] that as a ‘Republican they were only to vote for 4 candidates’ when in fact a voter had the opportunity to vote for up to 6 candidates regardless of their party affiliation.”

“Witness testimony as set forth in the affidavits clearly confirm this was a violation of election law and the 2013 Moderator handbook guidelines,” the complaint said.

Ethics Board: Further Investigation Warranted in Complaint Against First Selectman

An appointed body voted unanimously Tuesday night to adopt a resolution saying that further investigation is warranted into a complaint that New Canaan’s highest elected official violated multiple provisions of the town’s Code of Ethics in the run-up to November’s municipal election. 

The Ethics Board has not yet made a determination regarding the complaint lodged Nov. 1 by Micaela Porta, a town resident identified by the appointed body’s chair, Tucker Clauss, as president of the New Canaan chapter of the League of Women Voters. [Note: Porta contacted Wednesday morning to clarify that she filed the complaint personally and not on behalf of the League of Women Voters, as spelled out in the Ethics Board’s resolution, full text here.]

Porta as complainant asserts that Moynihan “using his position as first selectman violated several sections of the town Ethics Code when he sent an undated letter to all residents of New Canaan prior to the town’s Nov. 2, 2021 municipal election,” Clauss said during the meeting, held in the Town Hall Meeting Room. (The full text of Moynihan’s letter is printed at the end of this article.)

Specifically, Porta in the complaint “asserts that the letter mischaracterizes the voting rules at issue, that it was ‘misleading to voters seeking to understand how our municipal government works’ in general and in the then-pending election, and that the letter thereby granted preferential treatment to candidates preferred by the respondent,” Clauss said, citing the Ethics Board’s resolution.