HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS 2 / WCBS 880/ 1010 WINS/ AP) — There was election drama in Connecticut on Thursday.
Two days after residents cast their votes, they’re still waiting for word on who will be their next governor.
Connecticut’s secretary of state said she can’t tell the media who the next governor is, even though she did just that unofficially on Wednesday.
Susan Bysiewicz, a Democrat, unofficially declared Democrat Dan Malloy the likely governor-elect on the day after the election, but now, it seems, vote tally snags in Bridgeport is preventing her verifying her own prediction.
She spoke with CBS 2’s Lou Young in Hartford on Thursday afternoon.
“The numbers that we got yesterday were numbers that were given to us by an election official over the phone, but we do not have the returns,” Bysiewicz said. “We are waiting as you are and I don’t have anything really more to add.”
When she was asked if she was advising the media to forget about what she said Wednesday about the numbers from Bridgeport, Bysiewicz said, “I am reminding you that I gave you unofficial numbers. Our numbers are on our Web site, but I cannot compel Bridgeport to prepare their return and give it to us.”
1010 WINS’ Al Jones with the latest from Hartford
So, officially, Republican Tom Foley is ahead by 8,400 votes, but Bridgeport, the largest city in the state, is expected to erase that lead.
Right now, Connecticut still has no governor.
The Republican candidate said Thursday night a bag of uncounted photocopied ballots has been found, further throwing into question the outcome of the race.
Foley said the bag was found during the counting of ballots in Bridgeport, where a shortage Tuesday night forced officials to photocopy ballots. Foley said it’s unclear where the ballots originated and whether they are valid. He said he wanted them impounded.
WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reports from Bridgeport
“For this revelation to be made at this late hour makes things very suspicious to us,” Rick Albreck, an attorney for the Foley for Governor campaign, told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
But election bosses said they knew about the bag all along.
“A moderator refused to stay any longer. She had to go to work the next day. And she walked out,” Bridgeport registrar Joe Borges said.
“And didn’t count the bag of ballots.”
The voting in Bridgeport has become a major issue. A ballot shortage Tuesday led to long lines and reports of voters leaving polling places without voting. Because of the problems, a state judge ordered a dozen polling places in the city to remain open until 10 p.m., two hours after polls closed elsewhere.
Bridgeport elections officials gave some voters photocopied ballots and counted those by hand instead of running them through the optical-scan machines.
Republicans voiced concerns about the photocopied ballots and the extended voting hours and criticized Bysiewicz for declaring Malloy the winner based on unofficial vote totals. But the GOP hasn’t filed any formal complaints yet, state GOP Chairman Chris Healy said.
The confusion and contradictions was hardly impressing constituents.
“That’s a mess. They should have done it by now,” Bridgeport voter Cynthia Rhodes said.
“At least they’re counting them,” added voter Crystal Mitchell.
On Thursday night there was actually a plea the count be slowed down.
“Let’s take our time folks. Let’s slow down a little bit. Let’s get it right. Let’s show how Connecticut does democracy,” Republican lieutenant governor candidate Mark Boughton said.
Bridgeport’s city attorney said any claim the ballots have been mishandled here is untrue. Meanwhile, another politician said the city broke the law when it used its reverse 911 system to tell voters polls would remain open two additional hours.
Bysiewicz said Wednesday that unofficial returns from Tuesday’s election showed Malloy beating Foley by 3,103 votes out of more than 1.1 million cast, above the threshold of 2,000 or fewer votes that would have triggered an automatic recount. That number didn’t include absentee ballots, but Bysiewicz didn’t expect those ballots to change the outcome of the race.
Foley had asked Bysiewicz on Thursday to not release any more vote totals until tally discrepancies are sorted out.
More from 1010 WINS’ Al Jones
“In the last 24 hours alone, Bridgeport has revised downward the number of votes cast for Dan Malloy by over 3,500,” Foley campaign spokesman Justin Clark said in a statement. “Other cities and towns are likely to revise their results in the days ahead.”
Malloy said Wednesday that his numbers show he won by at least 11,000 votes, while Foley said his numbers showed him winning by just under 2,000 votes.
“We are 100 percent confident that when the final vote is certified, Dan Malloy will be declared the winner by a margin way outside what is necessary to trigger a recount,” Malloy aide Roy Occhiogrosso said Thursday.
Foley said Thursday afternoon that he still believed he had won the race.
“Until we have final numbers from the towns that are not going to be amended, I don’t think anybody should be calling the race,” he said. “I think everybody should stand back and focus on getting accurate numbers.
“We believe that after all the votes are accurately tabulated that we will have won,” he said.
Both Foley and Malloy began forming transition teams Wednesday in anticipation of becoming Connecticut’s 88th governor, succeeding retiring Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)