Judge validates Connecticut high school construction referendum

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, December 12, 2013

Litchfield County Superior Court Judge John W. Pickard ruled today that the June 18 referendum approving a $63.8 million Nonnewaug High School renovation is valid despite a failure to publish a legal notice prior to the vote.

Pickard found that failure to strictly comply with the requirement to publish a warning of a vote is insufficient to invalidate a referendum. Instead, a challenger must prove "actual prejudice from the error that affected the outcome of the vote."

Pickard referred to other recent referendums that drew a similar voter turnout and listed examples of the vote's advertisement that he said went beyond the bounds of an item in a newspaper's legal notice section.

And he cited Connecticut case law that counsels caution before a court chooses to exercise its power to vacate the results of an election out of fear of disenfranchising those who voted and because each election is a snapshot in time that cannot be duplicated.

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