Waiting for election's final results? Public explanation planned at 4:30 Monday

The complicated results of the election will be discussed at a public meeting in town hall late this afternoon.

Town Clerk Barbara Serfilippi said Republican and Democratic town committee chairmen and candidates affected have been invited to a meeting starting at 4:30 Monday, Nov. 13, in town hall’s lower-level conference room to discuss the situation — in which the outcomes of several races have yet to be announced.

“We’re going to try to explain exactly what’s going on,” Serfilippi said Monday morning.

The meeting is open, Serfilippi said, and anyone interested is welcome to come and listen.

Town election officials said they believe they have finally gotten the situation figured out, but the final results are still dependent on a couple of decisions that must be made by candidates who ran for and won more than one seat.

There are four races — for Board of Finance, Board of Education, Planning and Zoning Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals — where the election’s results were complicated by an unusual interplay of factors.

One complicating factor is the state minority representation laws, which limit the number of seats on any elected board or commission that can be held by any one party — no more than six seats on nine-member agency like the Board of Education and the Planning and Zoning Commission, and no more than four seats on most five-member agencies, like the Board of Finance and Zoning Board of Appeals.

Sometimes as a result of minority representation, a candidate with a higher vote total may not win an office if seating the person would put his or her party over the number of seats allowed on the board or commission by minority representation — the office then goes to the next highest vote-getter who isn’t a member of that party.

That applies in every election, and while it complicates things, it’s well understood.

This year the situation was further complicated by candidates in several races who were nominated for more than one position on a board or commission, and won them. People aren’t allowed to hold more than one elected office, by town charter, so candidates who won more than one office will have to resign from some of them. For the boards and commission involved, the Election Day ballot had both full terms and partial-term vacancies to be filled out.

With this factor added in, who will fill seats on various agencies depends not only on vote totals, and minority representation rules, but also on which seat candidates choose to keep and which they choose to resign from.

Will candidates keep the full four-year seat they won, and resign from the two-year vacancy they also ran for and won? Election officials can’t complete their calculations of who won until the candidates make those decisions and officially turn in the needed resignations.

“We have figured it out,” Serfilippi said Monday morning. “Now it’s pending on certain things. The people that won the two seats, I’m waiting for them to come in, withdraw.”