NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Registrar of Voters office is investigating possible irregularities on Election Day by a Democratic candidate for probate judge.
Darnell Crosland denied any knowledge of improprieties, making light of the situation and saying he was unaware of any allegations.
A source said the rumors are “all over SoNo.” Ponus Ridge Middle School is the location mentioned in rumors that are not specific as to what occurred.
“No comment at this time as to any person who might or might not be under consideration for a complaint,” Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said in an email. “Too often in the media suspicion is the same as guilt and exoneration is barely newsworthy.”
“We’re still investigating so we’re not saying anything until we are investigating,” Republican Registrar Karen Doyle Lyons said. “We are just checking with our officials and documenting things. We’ll find out what actually transpired so until then we are still in investigation. … We are questioning a number of violations that might have happened.”
Tony DePanfilis, who was re-elected as Judge of Probate, on election night said he had had “fun” with Crosland while standing outside the Columbus Magnet School poll during the election. Republican Town Committee Chairman Pete Torrano, whose wife was the moderator at Columbus, said, “I don’t know of any issues involving Darnell Crosland. He may have done something, but I don’t know what it is.”
“I have no firsthand knowledge that anything improper occurred. Attorney Crosland and Judge DePanfilis ran positive campaigns,” Deomocratic Town Committee Chairman Ed Camacho said.
Wells spoke in generalities.
“In general, candidates are not allowed in a polling place, except to cast their own vote, or to assist an immediate family member. Mere entry into a polling place is a violation of the election laws, regardless of whether their conduct was atrocious or exemplary, or whether the candidate was soliciting votes or mute. Conduct can, of course, be an aggravating factor or a mitigating factor. Any complaint in this area goes to the State Elections Enforcement Commission,” he wrote in the email.
“Non-candidates have slightly different rules,” he continued. “In general a non-candidate can’t come into a polling place except to vote and must leave after they have voted. However, non-candidates can be in a polling place if they are on the list of unofficial checkers, and under some other circumstances. The major prohibition is against “electioneering”, i.e. trying to get someone to cast their vote in a certain way. No electioneering is allowed inside a polling place, in any corridor in the building leading to the polling place, and within 75 feet of the entrance door. Candidates are, of course, also prohibited from electioneering inside the 75 foot line, even when they are legally present inside the polling place, such as when they are casting their own vote.”
Update, 9:26 p.m., comment from Ed Camacho.